It has been exactly a month since we knew the winner of the latest edition of TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2019. Congratulations to the newest Startup Battlefield winner, Scaled Robotics, who designed a robot that can produce 3D progress maps of construction sites in minutes.
How does Scaled Robotics work?
The startup has created a robot that trundles autonomously around construction sites, using a 360-degree camera and custom lidar system to systematically document its surroundings. All this information goes into a software backend where the supervisors can check things like which pieces are in place on which floor, whether they have been placed within the required tolerances, or if there are safety issues like too much detritus on the ground in work areas. The data is assembled automatically but the robot can be either autonomous or manually controlled.
Why construction companies need Scaled Robotics?
Construction is one of the world’s largest but also most inefficient and wasteful industries. There are estimates that nearly 20% of every construction project is rework. The problem of waste and rework is so widespread that the industry on average operates on a 1-2% margin. The root of this problem stems from the fact that the construction industry is still relying on tools and processes developed over 100 years ago to tackle the problems of today. The robot can make its rounds faster than a couple of humans with measuring tapes and clipboards. Someone equipped with a stationary laser ranging device that they carry from room to room just works too slowly. Using outdated data is one of the main problems for developers. This is confirmed by the case that was carried out in one of the companies. One of the first times startup took data on a site, the client was completely convinced everything they’d done was perfect. Scaled Robotics put the data in front of them and they found out there was a structural wall just missing, and it had been missing for 4 weeks. Thanks to Scaled Robotics’ technology such situations do not take place.
Technologies that support people’s work
There is no doubt that the entire competitive advantage of Scaled Robotics lies in innovative technology. An advantage of simultaneous location and ranging (SLAM) tech is that it measures from multiple points of view over time, building a highly accurate and rich model of the environment. Automated Construction Verification system with scans from traditional laser scanners, can verify the quality of the build providing high precision information to localize mistakes and prevent costly errors. What is more, Automated Progress Monitoring helps track the progress of the construction project and provides actionable information for site managers to prevent costly errors. By comparing this to a source CAD model of the building, it can paint a very precise picture of the progress being made. Scaled Robotics also built a special computer vision model that’s suited to the task of sorting obstructions from the constructions and identifying everything in between.
What Scaled Robotics did is that they rethought the entire construction process. Their mission is to modernize construction with Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, thereby creating a manufacturing process that is lean, efficient and cost-effective.
Does Scaled Robotics have a chance to revolutionize the construction industry on a global scale?