Meet Benji, Brasfield & Gorrie’s robot, who’s helping them build better

Spot is a mobile robot that B&G is using to help with construction in Birmingham
Boston Dynamics’ robot is affectionately called Spot—you could be forgiven for thinking it was a bright yellow dog if you didn’t look carefully enough. Photo via Boston Dynamics’ Facebook

Here at Bham Now, we’ve been having fun with programs that use AI (artificial intelligence) to help us get things done faster. We weren’t surprised to learn that Brasfield & Gorrie has hired a bright yellow robot to help them build better buildings. Keep reading to learn more about Benji, B&G’s own version of the robot officially named Spot.

First, you have to see Spot run to believe it

Spot is a mobile robot by Boston Dynamics and we thought this video was so cool we had to show it to you. Video via Boston Dynamics

So Spot is a mobile robot that’s designed to look and move like a dog, but with all kinds of incredible functionality that makes it a natural for a construction site. Need to check out a tight spot? Send Spot. (Yes, bad pun intended). Need to traverse uneven terrain? Send Spot.

Not only can Spot move through all the unevenness that’s involved in your average construction site, but it can also gather a heck of a lot of information while it’s there, freeing the humans to do what they do best.

Brasfield & Gorrie’s robot is called “Benji”—for B&G, get it?

When we saw this feature by Alec Harvey in Business Alabama, we knew we had to tell y’all about this adorable and functional robot that’s making the business of construction even better.

Whether it’s working at Grandview Physicians Plaza II or on Red Mountain Theatre Company’s new campus, Spot (aka “Benji”) is a big asset to B&G’s local construction sites.

Benji can gather data on the inside of a building similar to what a drone can get on the outside

Check out Spot in action right here in Birmingham. Video via Brasfield & Gorrie

In early 2020, Brasfield & Gorrie started working together with Boston Dynamics and DroneDeploy. Their mission: to lead the construction industry in automated “360 video-based construction documentation.”

Benji can head through a worksite, such as Red Mountain Theatre Company’s new Parkside campus, wearing a 360 camera, and get both close-up shots and big-picture view, for his handler.

There are two key applications for these images:

  • Bid process
  • Inspection

“With this new workflow, superintendents and project managers can easily and efficiently gather the data they need to obtain a comprehensive view of their job site, from any perspective,” according to Brasfield & Gorrie.

Brasfield & Gorrie is one of Spot’s early adopters

According to Business Alabama, Hunter Cole, B&G’s manager of innovation and operational technology, was the one to raise his hand and say yes! when he learned that Boston Dynamics was looking for companies who could put their robot to the test.

Here are just a few of the things Spot excels at:

  • Getting drone-like footage on the inside of buildings.
  • Traversing hazardous terrain.
  • Taking regular project progress photos, freeing up time for project managers.

With a current price tag of $74,500, B&G isn’t rushing out to buy more Spots, but from what we hear, they’re learning loads and having lots of fun with the one they have.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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