Meet Spot: A robot that’s being tested to keep construction sites clean

Housekeeping—or the practice of keeping a jobsite clean and organized—is critical in construction to reduce risk of injury.

In a collaboration with Autodesk Research and Boston Dynamics, the Skanska USA emerging technology team is testing Spot’s ability to help keep construction sites clean.

Trips and falls, falling objects, or cuts can often be avoided by routine housekeeping.

This includes cleaning up debris, properly storing tools and materials, eliminating hazards and keeping extension cords clear of walkways.

Housekeeping is an important indicator of project health and can be a huge contributing factor for our safety records on site.

Currently, there’s a lack of consistency in how we manage and track housekeeping on jobsites.

What if we could increase consistency and efficiency with housekeeping by automating this process with a robot?

That’s where Spot comes in.

A collaboration with Autodesk and Boston Dynamics

Skanska was first introduced to Spot in August 2021 when Autodesk Research and Boston Dynamics put out a call for research proposals.

They were looking for novel use cases with Spot on construction projects. How could this robot be used in more advanced applications beyond photo capturing or laser scanning?

After a two-day workshop at the Autodesk Technology Center in Boston that brought together individuals from Skanska, Autodesk Research and Boston Dynamics to ideate and prioritize various use cases for Spot, we landed on housekeeping as the primary use case.

Skanska was then given a six-month research and testing period to utilize Spot in a controlled environment.

Our team wanted to evaluate Spot’s agility both inside a lab and on a real jobsite. How would workers react to Spot walking on their project?

Over the course of our research and testing period, we realized the value that Spot brought to a jobsite from a housekeeping perspective, as well as Spot’s limitations.

To learn more about our findings, watch our series of videos below.

These videos were recorded in multiple locations with differing PPE requirements. All PPE requirements were adhered to during filming.