Autonomous Construction Equipment Could Help Remedy Labor Shortage

With cities expanding and much infrastructure in dire need of repair, demand for construction is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, contractors often have issues finding qualified people to do the work. This leads to delays, higher prices, and often lower quality. Companies are looking for ways to remedy the shortage of labor. Some are turning to artificial intelligence.

Meet San Francisco based Built Robotics. The company, which was founded in 2016, is retrofitting construction equipment to make them autonomous. The company’s kit currently supports dozers, excavators, and skid steers, with more equipment on the way.

Autonomous Construction Equipment Self-Driving Built Robotics - YellRobot
credit: Built Robotics

Self-Driving Construction Equipment Equipped With Sensors and Geofencing

To perform tasks and operate safely, the self-driving construction equipment uses onboard sensors, cameras, and LIDAR. The sensors and cameras make sure to detect people, animals, and other vehicles. GPS helps autonomously map and navigate surroundings while geofencing makes sure the equipment doesn’t go out of the work area.

If the sensors notice something going wrong such as the machine tipping or a human getting too close, they will shut power immediately. For extra safety, there is both a red emergency stop button on the back of each machine along with a wireless kill switch that can be triggered remotely. If need be the equipment can be monitored and controlled over wifi. While construction often has to stop in inclement weather, the autonomous kit can operate in snow, rain and heavy dust.

Built Robotics Autonomous Construction Equipment Has Logged Over 6,000 Hours

Built Robotics seems to be moving in the right direction. According to the company’s website, its autonomous construction equipment has logged over 6,158 hours of use with a perfect safety record. That’s equivalent to about 300,000 miles of testing. Construction companies are noticing the young company, as they have over $100 million dollars in contracts signed.

Check out our articles on autonomous parking at Maryland’s airport and Starsky testing self-driving trucks in Florida.