PCL Construction and Pomerleau put industry transformation ahead of competition

PCL and Pomerleau Construction are setting aside competition and leveraging innovation to collaboratively influence the construction industry. Along with Latium, Intel and Microsoft, they brought a ruggedized robotic dog to Cadillac Fairview’s 160 Front Street project in Toronto. This first phase of the multi-step collaboration was successfully carried out in the first weeks of November.

Using leading technologies to drive productivity and efficiency while enhancing quality and safety is paramount for PCL Construction. Pomerleau shares these priorities and wants to help propel an industrywide transformation collaborating and innovating using technology. The two leaders are joining forces to bring digital transformation and innovation to job sites, the beating heart of our industry.

Spot, an agile mobile robot designed by Boston Dynamics made its debut on a Pomerleau site in Montreal in 2019. Pomerleau was the first construction company in the world to welcome Spot on its job sites. PCL Construction will now send it to a couple of its job sites to further study and enhance how Spot can improve the company’s industry leading workflows.

“Sharing what we have learned and our experiences with this technology with PCL and seeing how it can be combined with additional innovations will be an enriching experience,” said Eric Lessard, Pomerleau’s Vice-President – Technology and Innovation. “We hope this partnership will inspire the industry as a whole to rally, so that advancements in construction can benefit communities and contribute to speeding up economic recovery in months and years to come.”

“We are very interested to see how Spot performs autonomously and how exactly the data it collects while moving around our job site will complement our daily site tasks at the workface of construction,” said John Boktor, PCL’s Senior Manager, Digital Construction – Business Technology. “Collaborating with our technology partners and industry peers in an effort to enable technology further and more broadly in our industry is both very exciting and rewarding.”

While on site, Spot was equipped with a number of complementary technologies, all of which will feed data into Latium Technologies industry leading Job Site Insights® smart construction platform. Those technologies include 360-degree cameras, a Leica RTC360 3D laser scanner, and Latium Technologies environmental air quality sensors, GPS sensors and other LORA IoT based sensory as required. Latium enabled Spot to collect data with the use of JSI®, aggregating and integrating job site information from 3rd party solutions and wireless IoT sensor data onto a single pane of glass. This enables job site personnel with real-time information to immediately respond to changing or adverse job site conditions and events, enhancing operational efficiencies while enhancing quality, safety, and operational efficiency. Spot frees up teams to focus on value added tasks. When it comes to safety, Spot can get into dangerous and hard to access or confined spaces, improving health and safety on job sites, which is of utmost importance to both PCL Construction and Pomerleau.

“With our smart construction solutions, we can transform general contractors and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry into becoming better builders,” said Mark Bryant, CEO of Latium Technologies. “Having Spot outfitted and integrated into our JSI® platform gives to real-time insights to project teams, enabling them to make critical job site decisions in real-time.”

To fully unleash the power of Spot on the jobsite, the robot dog is also equipped with Intel and Microsoft Azure, IoT and edge computing. This includes a ruggedized add-on computer, powered with Intel’s high-performance Xeon processor with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and processing power that operates the sensors, and the additional components Spot carries as part of the job-site robotic experiment. This open system allows for greater flexibility for developer adjustments. Having the data stored in Azure unlocks the potential for future use cases in IoT, edge computing, analytics, AI and machine learning, further driving additional worksite safety and operational efficiencies.

Denis Gaudreault, Intel Canada Country Manager added “we are thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with leaders from other industries in bringing breakthrough innovation to the market. This joint project is a testament to the great things that can come out when combining imagination with the power of technology to improve people’s lives and business outcomes.”

There is more to come in this exiting collaboration between the two Canadian construction leaders. Updates will be circulated as the teams continue to trade best practices and experiment with technologies that have the power to transform the industry.

About PCL Construction

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in the civil infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in more than 30 major centers. Together, these companies have an annual construction volume of more than $8 billion CAD, making PCL the largest contracting organization in Canada and one of the largest in North America.