Canvas develops an automated robot for the drywall finishing

Canvas, a construction robotics startup that is building the future in bold new ways, has announced its public launch with partnerships and $19M in financing this month. It also disclosed its participation in a number of high-profile projects as part of multi-year partnerships with leading construction developers, as well as its local painters’ union.

Canvas, headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 2017, has designed a robotic arm with sensors that automate the process of drywall installation. About the size of a kitchen stove, the four-wheeled robot navigates an unfinished building carrying laser scanners, sensors, and a robotic arm fitted to a vertical platform.

Thanks to sensors and artificial intelligence, the robot scans the unfinished walls and gets to work smoothing the surface before applying a near perfect layer of drywall compound. The device picks up objects with a robotic arm and can ask a person for help. The Canvas robot requires human oversight, but its operator does not need to be an expert drywaller or roboticist. It can help companies do more drywalling in less time and has higher labor productivity compared to a human.

Canvas currently focuses on installing drywall at commercial construction sites larger than 10,000 square feet (3,048 square meters). Canvas’ founder says its machines operate faster and at a higher level of quality than humans working without a robot.

Canvas has already was successfully tested the robot, under Arevalo’s supervision, at several construction sites in recent months, including the new Harvey Milk Terminal at San Francisco International Airport and an office building connected to the Chase Center arena in San Francisco. The company currently continues to improve the functionality of the robot, including the development of functions for plastering and painting walls.

Formed as a spinoff of Otherlab, a privately held research lab, Canvas has raised $19 million to date from investors including Innovation Endeavors, Obvious Ventures, Brick & Mortar Ventures, and Grit Ventures.

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