Stealthy autonomous construction equipment developer Built Robotics this week revealed its technology platform alongside a $15 million funding round led by New Enterprise Associates, according to a CNBC report.
The San Francisco-based company put on a demonstration of its technology, intended to convert existing excavators to autonomous robots that can operate for hours without a break. In a small dirt lot, a skid steer fitted with the company’s technology moved dirt around while being directly controlled by a computer system, according to the report.
The company’s platform is designed to allow contractors to electronically section off space for projects to keep the systems from exiting the area, and can be programmed with exact parameters on where dirt is meant to be moved to, CNBC reports.
While the system could displace some workers, founder & CEO Noah Ready-Campbell says that the tech could make up for a lack of skilled labor and act to fill in for dangerous, tedious projects, according to the report.
“I’ve talked to some operators and they’ve said there are parts of my job that are really dangerous and there are parts of my job that are really boring. If you can have a robot do those things and I can focus on the parts that really take human judgement, then that’s good for me,” Ready-Campbell told CNBC.
Ready-Campbell has experience working on autonomous vehicle systems at Google, and is joined by a small 10 person team at Built Robotics, according to the report.
The company will face competition from construction giants Caterpillar and Deere, who have their own autonomous machinery in development, CNBC reports.
Money raised in the funding round is slated to support hiring of new engineers and continuing product development, according to the report.