Spot the robot dog teaching tech and AI for construction


Florida Construction News staff writer

During the University of South Florida’s 52nd Engineering EXPO in January, two Suffolk USF College of Engineering alumni shared with K-12 students the importance of STEM-related studies and the many aspects of a career in construction.

Demonstrating how technology, robotics and AI are used in construction, students met Spot the robot dog. Built by Boston Dynamics, Spot is programmed to walk Suffolk’s jobsites and complete image capturing and laser scanning to allow teams to better understand and visualize jobsites in a safer, more efficient way.

While students at USF, Daniela Farias and Sofia Menacho Vargas volunteered at the EXPO and Farias served as the marketing chair. Both women are now participating in the Suffolk Career Start program where college graduates rotate through estimating, project management and field operations. The two-year program provides on-the-job training with hands-on learning opportunities help young professionals master the fundamentals of construction.  Farias and Menacho Vargas  are currently working on the Residences at 400 Central, a 46-story condominium in St. Petersburg.

“Our involvement with USF’s youth empowerment programs demonstrates our commitment to educating young adults on construction and STEM careers,” said Pete Tuffo, president of Suffolk’s Florida West Coast Region. “We believe it is our responsibility, as an organization and as an industry, to provide the resources and education for students to pursue careers in these thriving fields.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the USF College of Engineering to achieve this ambitious vision.”


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