‘Dave’ the robot dog reports for duty at Heathrow Airport

Mace, the global consultancy and construction company, and Heathrow Airport have employed ‘Dave’, a robotic dog, in a bid to improve efficiency and safety on major construction projects. 

The team are trialling ‘Spot the Dog’, a robot developed by Boston Dynamics, equipped with a Trimble X7 scanner to provide 3D laser scans during the ongoing refurbishment of a 1960’s cargo tunnel at Heathrow Airport.  

Mace is leading on the refurbishment and updating of aging mechanical and electrical services, bringing them into compliance with new regulations, within the tunnel – which is used to transport luggage and cargo across the airport. 

Mace’s Heathrow project chose to call their new colleague ‘Dave’ after holding a competition to choose a name.  

The robot dog allows the project team to safely retrieve data from the building site which is then used alongside 3D models and augmented reality to track accuracy and progress on the construction work. 

The robot is increasing safety by reducing trips, slips and accidents - particularly in hazardous, dark, or slippery locations. It is also improving efficiency on site as the scans taken by the robot are quick and accurate. 

Mace is one of the first construction firms to adopt this technology in the UK and, if the trial is deemed to be a success, the company will look to extend the technology across other major construction projects around the UK – driving improvements in safety and productivity across the industry. 

Mark Reynolds, Group Chairman and Chief Executive of Mace said: 

“The introduction of our new robot colleague, Dave, at Heathrow is a fantastic demonstration of the future of our industry. Robots will never replace people in construction – but this pilot shows how they have the potential to drive greater efficiency, capture records digitally and improve safety and delivery.
“Passengers at Heathrow may never notice the difference – but hopefully they’ll be pleased to know Dave is working round the clock to make sure the airport runs as smoothly as possible in the future. 
“The introduction of new technology is helping us collect important as-built data, whilst keeping our people safe in difficult locations, allowing them to focus on planning and delivering our projects more effectively.”

Emma Gilthorpe, Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow, said: 

“Heathrow’s vision is to give passengers the best airport experience in the world and, in order to do that, we need great people, and we also need innovation. Dave the Dog has been a fantastic innovation enabling us to perform the tasks that we need to do - using robotics and automation. 

"We are really excited to be working with Mace on this trial and we look forward to seeing how we can best deploy this technology across construction projects at Heathrow.”

Mace has worked with Heathrow Airport for 30 years, delivering major projects and infrastructure upgrades – including Terminal 5 and the air traffic control tower.

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