Economy & Politics

A colleague full of chips on construction sites

01.10.2020

The Stugalux company is testing a robot stuffed with electronics on its Luxembourg construction sites.

(pj with Thomas Klein) Since June, the workers of the construction company Stugalux have a new colleague. Yellow, on all fours and dumb. His name: Spot. Its origin: the production lines of the American company Boston Dynamics.

Its particularity: being able to move, alone or via a remote control, through construction sites as well to take measurements, carry heavy items, or even become a painter or a mason. After the drone, this is further proof that digitization is progressing, directly in the field, in the building sector.

Thursday, it is the Minister of the Middle Classes, Lex Delles (DP) who was entitled to a demonstration of this worker 2.0. For the occasion, Spot was equipped with a 3D scanner. Enough to allow its employers to obtain a three-dimensional image of a place, including on sites that are difficult to access by humans. Because the robot is not only smaller than a man, also agile but above all ready for anything. Even if risking the skin of a machine costing nearly 70,000 euros each is a decision to measure with caution …

For the time being, the two Stugalux robots are assigned to much less risky missions. The technicians program them to go from room to room and check, with a laser shot, whether the measurements of the plans have been respected and implemented in reality. In the future, other functions will be added to its daily use, if the “beast” proves its worth.

Because another special feature of Spot lies in its versatility. Its artificial intelligence allows it to move on rough terrain, climb stairs, but its back (a platform) can carry any equipment or part dedicated to construction. “You could, for example, attach arms to the back. Members who would then allow panels to be placed or painted, ”explains Joel Schons, director of Stugalux.

And Joel Schons to reassure construction staff who would already see Schons as a serious competitor for their job. “In principle, it’s just a new tool like an excavator or an excavator that makes our work easier, not an active employee,” comments the entrepreneur.

A sign that Spot is a pleasant companion at work, some of his colleagues (100% human) have already found a use for him. Like a young apprentice, it is to him that they entrusted the task of going to the refreshment station to bring them refreshing drinks during the day. An unexpected use but where the “doggie” also proves its worth.

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