Heathrow airport trials robot dog for construction

By Catrin Jones07 December 2022

Heathrow Airport is reported to have employed a robotic dog called Dave in a bid to improve efficiency and safety on major construction projects.

'Dave' the robot dog at Heathrow Airport (Photo: Mace)

The team are trialling ‘Spot the Dog’, a robot developed by Boston Dynamics, equipped with a Trimble X7 scanner to provide 3D laser scans during the ongoing refurbishment of a 1960’s cargo tunnel at Heathrow Airport.

The robot dog features four mechanical limbs and additional parts for more advanced tasks and it is increasingly being used in construction, security and mining projects — where its ability to open doors, drag objects and inspect dangerous areas is proving useful.

The companies working at Heathrow Airport say the robot dog allows the project team to increase safety by reducing trips, slips and accidents — particularly in hazardous, dark, or slippery locations — while quickly retrieving data from the building site.

The robot is increasing safety by reducing trips, slips and accidents - particularly in hazardous, dark, or slippery locations. It is also improving efficiency on site as the scans taken by the robot are quick and accurate.

Mark Reynolds, Group Chairman and Chief Executive of Mace, said, “The introduction of our new robot colleague, Dave, at Heathrow is a fantastic demonstration of the future of our industry. Robots will never replace people in construction – but this pilot shows how they have the potential to drive greater efficiency, capture records digitally and improve safety and delivery.

“Passengers at Heathrow may never notice the difference – but hopefully they’ll be pleased to know Dave is working round the clock to make sure the airport runs as smoothly as possible in the future,” Reynolds added.

Mace is said to be one of the first construction firms to adopt this technology in the UK and, if the trial is deemed to be a success, the company will look to extend the technology across other major construction projects around the country.

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