From robot dogs to artificial intelligence: top tech in ’21

Image: 139754773 © Colicaranica |

From robot dogs to AI, drones to 4D, construction technology continued to evolve in 2021.

In full Top of the Pops-style, here’s the rundown of the 10 most popular technology stories that BIMplus published in 2021, from number 10 to number one.

Does what it says on the tin: a contactless site entry system from Biosite Systems in front of which operatives stand while their facial template is matched against a pre-existing database before access is either granted or denied.  

Spot, Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, got up to all sorts of shenanigans this year (dancing with BTS or mimicking the Rolling Stones, for example), but most notably in early spring, it learned to follow humans in a proof-of-concept collaboration between Trimble and dynamic following technology specialist Piaggio Fast Forward.

Where would we be without software? The launch of the latest version of Revit caught your eye.

It’s that dog again! Martha Tsigkari and Adam Davis, partners in Foster + Partners’ Applied Research + Development group, gave us the lowdown on their use of Spot the robot dog on the Battersea Roof Gardens mixed-use project.

Looking nowhere near as sophisticated as Spot, this robot from Dusty Robotics prints full-size floorplans on construction site floors, so crews can build directly off the plans, reducing opportunity for manual error.

Just how good are proximity warning systems? We reported on the findings of the quantitative and qualitative trials conducted by the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) for the Construction Innovation Hub.

A short video from the Balfour Beatty Vinci joint venture revealed how it used the 4D immersive Mission Room technology to plan works on the M4 smart motorway project.

BIMplus stuck its nose into the murky waters (surely that should be "skies"?) of taking down drones that stray into your project’s or asset’s space.

In which two very big names in their own spheres join forces to accelerate the use of digital twins in the design, construction and operation of infrastructure.

The most popular tech story of 2021 involved Vinci Construction UK’s building division announcing its hope of saving 5,200 hours of work across its 25 live sites by adopting the OpenSpace AI-based tool that allows construction progress to be monitored remotely.

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