Gilbane Construction company has entered a strategic partnership with Nextera Robotics to develop a robust artificial intelligence platform – Didge, which employs a fleet of autonomous mobile robots to track build progress and monitor safety on its construction sites.

Unlike robots that travel on a defined path to create field layouts on construction sites, The Didge Platform acts as an autonomous “eyes-on-site” 24/7 system by seamlessly capturing accurate visual data at construction sites, generating a bridge to the field between design models, digital twins, and plans, while also increasing transparency, monitoring protection, and facilitating progress tracking.

It will be fully customizable and multi-functional to include abilities such as 360-degree video capturing and regular laser scanning to facilitate a field to BIM connection. The platform can also monitor environmental states and intensify security inspection on project sites.

The Didge platform was designed to increase authenticity and safety while lowering operating costs. Didge robots are entirely autonomous, and the fleet does not require human inspection. Each robot can run for up to 6 hours, and it can stop itself at the nearest base station for recharging.

To obtain well-defined localization and pass through the complex construction site environment, the robots are adopting an approach similar to autonomous vehicles. Deep Learning is used by Nextera’s autonomous navigation software to process data from advanced depth sensors, cameras, lidars, and inertial sensors integrated with the robot’s body and make real-time decisions.

Data gathered over thousands of miles of driving through active construction sites is used to train neural networks for localization, navigation, and mapping. Didge’s current fleet consists of wheeled and tread versions that can climb stairs or use human-operated hoists.

Regardless of robot type, they all have the same “brains” and “eyes”: high-performance edge computers and advanced navigation software, and they are all linked to a fleet management cloud. The data collected by the robotics platform can be used for a variety of purposes, including work progress, safety tracking, and post-completion data for building owners via 360-images delivered on a 3D map.

Once the project is completed, the platform provides a visual archive that provides a “behind-the-walls” look into a building’s infrastructure.

Lana Graf, CEO, and founder of Nextera Robotics said that The platform was designed to promote sustainability and contribute to environmental safety in construction sites. With the help of the Didge robots, it is easy to monitor constructions to increase workers’ safety and avoid accidents.

According to Michael McKelvy, President and CEO of Gilbane Building Company, their robotics platform is established to provide a cost-effective, automated means to secure construction sites. They are constantly aiming to fulfill client requirements by establishing a partnership with Nextera Robotics. Throughout its 150-year history, Gilbane has focused on advancing innovations that enable them to create smarter, safer products.

Gilbane Construction Company is one of the largest construction firms in the United States. Its headquarters are located in Providence.

Nextera Robotics, headquartered in Boston, is one of the leading industrial robotics companies that focus on efficiency and sustainability.