flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Follow the leader: New following technology better equips robots for the jobsite

Great Solutions

Follow the leader: New following technology better equips robots for the jobsite

New proof-of-concept from Piaggio Fast Forward and Trimble enables robots and machines to follow humans.


By David Malone, Associate Editor | March 18, 2021
PFFtag platooning

Photos: PFF

Anyone with an irrational fear of a pending robot uprising may want to look away, because they have just taken one more step towards autonomy. Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) and Trimble have announced a proof-of-concept collaboration to enable robots and machines to follow humans and other machines in industrial applications. 

Many robots are currently controlled by joysticks operated in person or by telepresence from a remote location, but the new prototype eliminates the need for sole control via a joystick. The smart following technology allows humans to lead robots and machines in dynamic environments. “The follow-me technology by PFF provides an intuitive user experience and opens the door to collaborative robots that can augment the human workforce,” said Aviad Almagor, Division Vice President, Trimble’s Emerging Technologies, in a release.

 

PFFtag Spot robot on site walk

 

PFF has componetized the smart following technology developed by PFF’s Gita robot into a stand-alone module called PFFtag. PFF and Trimble have integrated this patent-pending PFFtag smart following module prototype onto a Boston Dynamics Spot robot platform controlled by Trimble’s advanced positioning technology. 

With the push of a button, a fused sensor array is activated and paired to a leader who navigates the robot or machine through construction or civil engineering spaces. PFFtag enables external partners to leverage its exclusive algorithms and allow their software to communicate with PFF’s software, enabling a human to control the robot via pairing and improving the robot’s ability to sense direction and velocity as it follows the leader. While on a site walk, waypoints can be dropped with the push of a button. Once trained by following, paths can be repeated by the robot autonomously with the ability to avoid obstacles and respond to a changing environment.

 

PFFtag Spot robot

 

No app, tablet, or special training to operate a joystick is needed. Additionally, multiple robots or machines can be “linked” together like ducklings following their mother to create a platooning effect.

Trimble conducted testing using a Spot robot equipped with Trimble laser scanning or Global Navigation System sensors and PFFtag technology at one of its customer’s sites in Colorado over the course of two months as part of the proof-of-concept. In the future, PFF and Trimble envision robots with PFFtag having the ability to assist construction professionals in their daily workflow, carry heavy equipment, improve efficiency, and enhance worker safety.

Related Stories

AEC Tech | Apr 13, 2022

A robot automates elevator installation

  Schindler—which manufactures and installs elevators, escalators, and moving walkways—has created a robot called R.I.S.E. (robotic installation system for elevators) to help install lifts in high-rise buildings.

AEC Tech Innovation | Mar 9, 2022

Meet Emerge: WSP USA's new AEC tech incubator

Pooja Jain, WSP’s VP-Strategic Innovation, discusses the pilot programs her firm’s new incubator, Emerge, has initiated with four tech startup companies. Jain speaks with BD+C's John Caulfield about the four AEC tech firms to join Cohort 1 of the firm’s incubator.

Great Solutions | Jan 18, 2022

Researchers develop concept for rechargeable cement-based batteries

Researchers from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have created a concept for rechargeable batteries made of cement. The concept involves a cement-based mixture with small amounts of short carbon fibers added to increase conductivity and flexural toughness. 

Great Solutions | Nov 22, 2021

Drywall robots take the risk out of the finishing process

Canvas is using robots to complement the work already being done by drywall professionals.

Great Solutions | Sep 23, 2021

Seattle looks to become America’s most walkable city with a new citywide wayfinding system

Seamless Seattle will support the Seattle Department of Transportation’s commitment to increase the percentage of trips made by walking to 35% by 2035.

Great Solutions | Jul 9, 2021

MojoDesk creates a new solution for managing open office distractions

The MojoDome allows for a private work space while also maintaining a collaborative environment.

Great Solutions | Feb 11, 2021

Simplifying the return to the office

A new web-based tool from Sasaki takes the guesswork out of heading back to the workplace.

Great Solutions | Oct 6, 2020

Could water-filled windows help buildings save energy?

New research shows how water-filled glass could help heat and cool buildings.

Great Solutions | Aug 10, 2020

From lobby to penthouse, elevators can be a 100% touch-free experience

The Toe-To-Go elevator system allows riders to operate the elevator entirely with their feet.

Great Solutions | Jul 13, 2020

Essential protection for businesses

Custom protective barriers help keep essential business employees safe.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

AEC Tech

A robot automates elevator installation

 

Schindler—which manufactures and installs elevators, escalators, and moving walkways—has created a robot called R.I.S.E. (robotic installation system for elevators) to help install lifts in high-rise buildings.


AEC Tech Innovation

Meet Emerge: WSP USA's new AEC tech incubator

Pooja Jain, WSP’s VP-Strategic Innovation, discusses the pilot programs her firm’s new incubator, Emerge, has initiated with four tech startup companies. Jain speaks with BD+C's John Caulfield about the four AEC tech firms to join Cohort 1 of the firm’s incubator.


Great Solutions

Researchers develop concept for rechargeable cement-based batteries

Researchers from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have created a concept for rechargeable batteries made of cement. The concept involves a cement-based mixture with small amounts of short carbon fibers added to increase conductivity and flexural toughness. 


halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: