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Those still digesting the emergence of autonomous cars on our roads might want to prepare themselves for the following: Mechanical equipment from the construction industry is undergoing an accelerated process of automation with the aim of becoming autonomous.
Built Robotics, a robotics company based in San Francisco, has taken another step toward implementing autonomous construction technologies. The company began developing autonomous excavators in 2019 and expanded in a few months to include bulldozers and dirt trucks. The company was forced to deal with the Corona crisis by establishing a new model for remote work, which was not easy when working with robots of such enormous size. This is why Built Robotics decided to focus on tools that have already proven successful: excavators.
On almost every construction site, trench digging is an essential task for excavators. Despite the repetitive nature of the work, accuracy is imperative in order to prevent damage to the existing infrastructure or disturb the balance of the ground. As a matter of fact, the company does not build excavators, but uses existing equipment (such as from Caterpillar). An add-on to the tool, called the “exosystem”, ensures that each excavator has autonomous capabilities.
However, the question remains: can an excavator with its immense dimensions and autonomous function be a safe tool in an industrial workplace? Over 13,000 hours of field operation have demonstrated complete safety compliance with the product, which incorporates a multilayered safety system, including geofencing to disable the tool’s activity if it leaves a designated area, and wireless designer buttons dotted around the work site. Additionally, a computerized vision system constantly monitors the area around the machine to detect people and obstacles.
During Round C, the company raised an additional 64 million dollars, bringing its total funding to $112 million, bringing us closer to the point where autonomous construction equipment will also soon be available on our construction sites. Take a look.
Sounds interesting? Discover more interesting innovations at AUS&R 2022 – the Unmanned Systems and Robotics Conference – the tenth annual event, by iHLS.