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After a stint at a park last year in which it reminded visitors on safe distancing, Spot the robot dog has a new assignment – helping to do laser scans of structures built at worksites and sending the results over 5G for checks.

The four-legged Boston Dynamics machine’s new line of work is being tested by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and construction firm Gammon as part of several 5G applications the Government is trialling in Sentosa.

The 5G @ Sentosa project was launched by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) on Tuesday (Oct 19). The aim is to roll out the successful Sentosa 5G trials to the mainland in the next five years.

Using 5G, the worksite scans made by the laser scanner equipped on Spot can be sent almost instantly, without lag, to building supervisors located elsewhere to check if the structures there are built according to their intended designs.

This is done by comparing the scan data with 3D models created earlier of what the completed structures should look like.

Such remote checking is useful during the Covid-19 pandemic if there are restrictions on people moving around worksites, for example.

Previously, the scans were done manually, which was resource-intensive and time-consuming. The scan data is also too large to be sent over the air through 4G.

But Spot, which was deployed at the Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park in a pilot as a safe distancing robot in May last year, can be programmed to tirelessly scan worksites on its own.

Spot robot patrolling Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park | The Straits Times

The robot canine’s work could also be extended to track the progress of and do quality control checks on construction projects. An alternative to Spot is a wheeled robot that performs a similar function.

Another project being tested by BCA and Gammon involves guiding worksite staff and helping them to better visualise installation works at a construction site using augmented reality.