Amr Raafat has become famous for using technology to implement difficult or complex construction processes. Recently, he was named Innovator of the Year by the Autodesk AEC Excellence awards because of his robotic invention.
Raafat specializes in developing drones, virtual reality and BIM programs that can help with construction workflows. His latest invention is an in-house platform that uses drone imagery and ground survey points to build a 3D model of jobsites and embed them into the BIM workflow.
In the past, drones were used in the construction industry to record videos and photos of jobsites in order to facilitate various jobs that workers must perform. In this new and more advanced program, the technology takes a grand step forward. Raafat combines drones with virtual reality to produce something unique. Teaming up with a robotic software company, Raafat has developed an autonomous laser scanning and layout planning robot that can be used on construction work sites.
Combining VR, Robotic & Drones
Raafat comments on this. “So far, the reality is that folks see each technology as separate. They look at VR by itself and drones by themselves.”
Traditional surveys of a property can take weeks to compile. But the drone can capture an entire site in just one 20-minute flight. This saves weeks and thousands of dollars. Plus, the information compiled is often much more accurate.
The new robot can move around well, even on uneven surfaces. It can scan both indoor and outdoor spaces. It can also draw up plans for walls and spaces that often take human beings weeks to meticulously draw. The new robot performs some of the tedious, time-consuming jobs that are difficult for humans to complete accurately. This frees up workers to do other jobs, plus it shaves time off the construction process as a whole.
Winner of Autodesk Innovator Award
The idea for this new laser-scanning robot came about while Raafat worked at the Autodesk Technology Center in Boston. He was meeting with people from software firm RCML, which specializes in creating software languages for industrial robots. As we all move into the future, it is expected that robots will begin performing many of the tedious and tiresome tasks that often take so much time to complete. There are certainly a great many jobs that fall under that heading when it comes to construction.
RCML’s head of global strategy and business development, Lana Graf, said their firm was keenly interested in moving more into the construction sector. Collaborating with Raafat, they’ve seen the vision for all the ways robots could solve problems, save time and money, plus decrease the time to completion. With RCML providing the robot’s software and hardware and Raafat providing the vision for the future, there’s no limit to what may be possible.
Great Tool Storage Ideas
For those who are in the construction business, good tools are essential, along with sturdy toolboxes. RolacaseUSA manufactures top-notch van shelving and work truck cabinets and other products for tradesmen. The company began in 1982 in Australia and quickly became well-known because of their durable construction and wide range of tool storage solutions. These include a wide range of storage solutions for work trucks, cargo vans, tiny homes, boats, and RVs.