[VIDEO] Humans Lead Robots On Site

March 18, 2021

Trimble and Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a tech company, will partner to enable robots and machines to follow humans and other machines in industrial applications. 

To do this, the companies have integrated a PFF smart following module prototype onto a Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, which is controlled by Trimble’s positioning technology. This eliminates the need to solely control the robot via joystick, according to a press release. Humans can now lead other robots and machines, providing a larger range of navigation methods—remote control, autonomous, and now, following—in dynamic environments. It also improves the robot’s ability to sense direction and velocity as it follows the leader. 

A push of a button activates a fused sensor array that pairs to a leader, who navigates Spot or another robot through a work site. No prior training is needed, according to the companies. 

In the future, the robots may have the ability to assist construction professionals in their daily workflow, carry heavy equipment, improve efficiency, and enhance workers safety.