Self-Driving Heavy Equipment Makes its Way to Construction Jobsites
Self-driving cars may soon be navigating the same roads you drive. But could self-driving equipment hit your jobsite first?
Last week, San Fransisco-based company Built Robotics announced a partnership with construction industry giant Mortensen Company to bring autonomous equipment to commercial construction sites. The focus of this partnership will be employing robotic equipment for tasks such as earthmoving in areas where there is a lacking work force.
Built Robotics’ autonomous equipment will be able to perform repetitive tasks akin to manual labor under the management of Mortenson equipment operators. In remote locations, finding and paying for a manual labor force is not always possible, especially with the current nationwide shortage of construction workers. Mortenson aims to side-step these problems through this partnership with Built.
“Our partnership with Mortenson is focused on earthmoving activities for renewables projects like wind and solar farms, which tend to be in remote areas, far from traditional workforce centers,” said Built in their announcement of this partnership.
Jobsite safety is also an area of concern for Mortenson, and they think that Built Robotic’s equipment is a potential solution.
“I’m excited about the potential for Built’s technology,” said Molly Morgan, an equipment operator for Mortenson. “Our top priority is safety — if the robot can work on steep slopes, or near unstable ground, or in challenging or risky situations, then we one-hundred percent should use it.”
Built currently produces robotic upgrade kits that works with dozers, excavators, and skid steers. While this self-driving heavy equipment is currently only being used in the commercial construction industry, it is not hard to see how this technology could impact residential construction on a smaller scale.