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What is a Robotic Total Station? Here's Everything You Need to Know

The availability of new technology to automate job site tasks is rapidly increasing. Choosing the right technology for your firm, then implementing it, isn’t always a straightforward process. The ROI equation is sometimes unclear, and the implementation process can be complex. 

Robotic Total Stations (RTS) are a rare exception to this dilemma. RTS can provide impactful benefits with minimal fuss. It is also a straightforward technology, with a clear path to implementation. Here are just a few of its benefits:

  • More accurate measurements
  • Greater productivity
  • Fewer mistakes
  • Reduced rework
  • Better Quality Assurance

Let us illustrate how RTS does this.

What is a Robotic Total Station?

Simple in concept, a Robotic Total Station (RTS) is a Total Station that allows remote operation. This means you only need one operator and can perform far more calculations and inspections in less time than with a traditional Total Station.


What are the Benefits of a Robotic Total Station?

Implementing Robotic Total Stations on a construction site immediately provides a large number of substantial benefits, including:

All of these benefits accrue from the key advantage provided by Robotic Total Stations:

This significant increase in productivity allows teams to check more points, yielding better quality and less rework. Consider, for instance, a ConTech Academy partner’s first experience with Robotic Total Stations, in this case, study.

Case Study: Precast Parking Deck with Robotic Total Station


A major construction company in Hawaii opted to pilot a Robotic Total Station when it was contracted to perform precast for a large parking deck structure. The pilot results would far exceed expectations.

Each precasting component had a dowel grouted into a sleeve that allowed prefabricated panels to be plugged in on-site. The firm originally built-in some contingency for a percentage of the 875,000 required dowels to be outside of specs.

The team’s accuracy using RTS far outpaced that original expectation. Not one of the 875,000 dowels had to be reworked. Additionally, there was zero delay onsite. All panels were assembled on time, as soon as they arrived on site. The end result was that the project completed two weeks ahead of schedule.

Not only did the contractor not incur the cost of reworking the dowels, but they saved cost on rental of equipment, including the crane that was hoisting the panels. Including the cost of the RTS rental, software, and training, the project manager reported an over 10x return on investment on the pilot project.

With the use of RTS, the company has now become more competitive than ever. After the pilot, it changed its bidding process to include gains from its use.

What is the cost of a Robotic Total Station?


One low-risk way to pilot a Robotic Total Station is to rent one. After piloting RTS and proving its cost to value, you will discover many brands, varieties, and price points to choose from when you look to purchase. Depending on its specifications options start at $10,000 and exceed $50,000. 

In comparing your options, consider the following features and how they fit with your needs:

Robotic Total Station Benefits The Full Project Life Cycle

In detailing the benefits for layouts and quality assurance, we really just skimmed the surface of the benefits of RTS. In reality, there are clear productivity gains to be had across the full project lifecycle. This is how a Robotic Total Station’s benefits translate across hand-off points:

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