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Virginia Tech using dog-like robot for construction projects

Spot will work on three sites across campus

Researchers at Virginia Tech are unleashing new technology to oversee construction on campus.
Researchers at Virginia Tech are unleashing new technology to oversee construction on campus.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Researchers at Virginia Tech are using state of the art robotic technology to oversee one of its major construction projects.

“This is the first time that we are using legged the four-legged robot on a construction site,” Assistant Professor Kereshmeh Afsari with the Myers-Lawson School of Construction said.

The yellow dog-like robot’s name is Spot.

And while it may not look like any dog you have ever seen, this versatile technology is helping oversee major projects at Virginia tech.

“We didn’t know what to expect, are people going to be afraid of robots to think that oh is, is the robot going to take my job away are they going to be interested in getting to know robots and that has been a really good learning process for us,” Afsari said.

While Spot may not be your typical dog. he’s been a major part of a construction project at Holden Hall, a place where students will come to learn for many decades to come here at Virginia Tech.

Spot is mostly used to survey the site.

Additionally, professors and students use him to study the role of autonomous technology on construction sites.

“To see how we can use a spot to walk autonomously on the job side and take progress pictures,” Afsari said.

Most who help operate spot on the site say it brings mixed reactions.

“The guys when they see the dog walking around are always very interested in taking a bunch of photos, videos, have a bunch of comments ask a bunch of questions,” Project Manager Julian Blazier said.

And as spot continues to bring Virginia Tech’s campus into the future, some are already considering the role technology will play in projects like this down the line.

" I think it’s the beginning of robot technology being used in our industry heavily on the commercial side, to see where it’s gonna go,” Blazier said.

Construction on Holden Hall is expected to be complete sometime next year.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.