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Automated Machine Guidance

Construction equipment with GPS locators to guide vehicle pathsAutomated machine guidance uses data from three-dimensional engineered models to accurately guide construction equipment on a job site. AMG is used in all phases of construction and is adaptable to almost every type of equipment, including:

  • Excavation
  • Grading
  • Milling
  • Concrete Paving

AMG equipment uses GNSS satellite positioning or a robotic total station to accurately and efficiently complete construction activities to a tolerance of +/- 0.02 ft.

Application of AMG can be augmented to meet the specific needs of a given project. Automation can be used to provide guidance to the equipment operator to achieve accurate horizontal and vertical positioning, but can also be used to fully automate operations down to the height and angle of a bulldozer blade.

Use of AMG on ODOT Projects

The Oregon Department of Transportation has used AMG on many of its recent projects, including Pioneer Mountain - Eddyville, Newberg-Dundee Bypass and Bly Mountain.

ODOT has updated its specifications to clarify and encourage the use of 3D design data and its application on ODOT construction projects. The Construction Surveying Manual for Contractors currently allows for AMG to be used in lieu of traditional survey staking.


The following questions and answers are not intended to answer basic questions about the use of AMG. These are not meant to provide technical information about the implementation or design of AMG.

Yes, if the ODOT project manager agrees to the AMG plan proposed by the construction contractor, then AMG is an acceptable construction method. There is no specification that prohibits AMG or any other technological advancement in construction.

The ODOT Highway Design Manual chapter 16 directly references the use of AMG. ODOT understands the benefits of using AMG for the contractor and for itself.

​The ODOT Construction Surveying Manual for Contractors section 1.8 addresses the use of AMG and what will be required from the contractor.​

If a project was advertised through eBIDS and meets ODOT requirements for 3D Design, all bidders will have access to a predefined set of data including, at a minimum, the primary alignment, the roadway design finish surface, existing ground surface, and standard cross sections. The design information may be unfinished or incomplete. For this reason the eBIDS package should not be used for construction. The files will be in XML or PDF format. (See eBIDS Handoff Package Checklist for detailed information).

For projects that meet the requirements for 3D Design, a Construction Survey Handoff package containing detailed 3D Design information covering the entire project will be prepared after a project has been awarded. The Project Manager will provide information to the successful bidder from this package in accordance with the contract requirements. The design data will be in DGN (MicroStation), XML and PDF format. See ODOT Highway Design Manual Appendix M for detailed information on the files and formats provided in the survey handoff package and ODOT Technical Services Bulletin RD13-03(B) for 3D Design project requirements.

​The eBIDS package is for bidding purposes only; use of the data for any other purpose is at the bidder's own risk.

The data in the eBIDS package is not the final 3D design for the project, and should not be used for construction.

The contractor will receive information from the Construction Survey Handoff package, in accordance with the contract requirements for Agency Responsibilities. ODOT will be responsible for the integrity of the data provided.

ODOT will not accept responsibility for any errors introduced by conversion or other manipulation of the data performed by the contractor.

Any errors, omissions or discrepancies found in the data should be brought to the attention of the Project Manager as soon as possible so that it can be corrected.

As stated in Special Provision 00305, costs incurred by survey errors on the contractor’s part, will not be covered by ODOT.

​Per the Construction Surveying Manual for Contractors Section 1.8, the contractor may be required to "Demonstrate capabilities, accuracy, and reliability of the intended AMG procedures if required by the Engineer."

The ODOT project manager has final say on all construction methods used to build a project; that has always been the case regardless of using AMG or not. The contractor will be required to discuss all intended uses of AMG with the project manager at the pre-construction meeting or 21 days before its use.

​Per the Construction Surveying Manual for Contractors Section 1.8, in lieu of setting stakes, the contractor may use AMG, and perform any supplemental staking as directed by the engineer.

​Rigorous checks are built into the ODOT design process to ensure that the data provided to the contractor is accurate and matches the paper plans. The eBIDs package and the Construction Survey Handoff Package are reviewed in-depth before they are made available. Appendix N to the ODOT Highway Design Manual covers the step by step quality control (QC) process for digital design data.

The contractor will be required to submit to ODOT any 3D models to be loaded into their AMG equipment, per the ODOT Construction Surveying Manual for Contractors. These 3D models will be reviewed to confirm that they match the original ODOT model and plans. The typical work flow will be:

  1. ODOT supplies the contractor with 3D design models in .xml format;
  2. The contractor converts the models into a format that works with their AMG equipment;
  3. The contractor will export these machine models back to an .xml format and submit to ODOT for review.

Grade verification points, for quality control, will be required upon the completion of each course of material during the construction process. These points will be checked against the ODOT 3D design model to ensure compliance with the required tolerance specifications.

​The ORGN is a GNSS network that provides real-time kinematic (RTK) correctors to field GNSS users over the internet. If AMG equipment is properly configured, the ORGN can replace an onsite GNSS base station.

The ORGN is operated and controlled by ODOT and access information is available online.

The ORGN network should be used at the contractors own risk, network outages will not substantiate a contract claim. If the ORGN is used, it is advisable to have a local base station available.

​Per Special Provisions 00305.90, payment for "Construction Survey Work" will be paid for as a contract lump sum. No additional payments will be made for additional work that may be related to AMG construction methods, additional survey work to support AMG, or the development of 3D design models for AMG equipment.

Even if AMG is required in the contract with an associated bid item, the costs associated with AMG should be factored into the bidding process like any other incidental expense. No additional payments will be made for the use of AMG.

There may be special cases where AMG will be required and ODOT may cover some of the cost and/or pay separately for AMG. These will be handled through contract change orders on a project by project basis.

Contact the Engineering Technology Advancement Unit

800 Airport Road SE
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: 503-986-3033
Fax: 503-986-3548

Program Lead

Phone: 503-302-9390

Resources and Related Content

3D Milling

3D Roadway Design


Oregon Coordinate Reference System

FHWA Tech Brief "Automated Machine Guidance with Use of 3D Models"