Published On : 2019-06-18
Mortenson, an American builder, developer, and provider of energy and engineering services, has partnered with Built Robotics, a US-based robot builder focusing on making construction more productive, faster, and safer. The partnership will see autonomous machines being rolled out on Mortenson’s sites. Operating on proprietary software of Built Robotics, the company’s hardware and sensor packages are used to run skid steers, bulldozers, and excavators on job sites. Labor shortage is common in the construction industry, and the technology that Built Robotics provides is viewed as a response to the problem, according to the two companies. Built Robotics will automate few of Mortenson’s heavy equipment.
“From urban workforce centers, the sites are far away, and our people think that one of the solutions for that labor problem is autonomous machines,” said VP and GM for Heavy Civil Construction at Mortenson, Eric Sellman.
Mortenson and Built Robotics to start with 10 machines on three wind power projects
“Our company thinks it helps validate that autonomy is here, and carries value for construction. In fact, we can take people out of the way of harm and make construction safer, and rethink how to do construction to be more efficient and effective, so that we could build more,” said Gaurav Kikani, VP of Built Robotics.
As the Mortenson workforce becomes more proficient in using robots, they could even be used for other tasks such as foundation backfill and grading, said Sellman. In 2018, Mortenson and Built Robotics have already worked together on many other projects. In 2019, the two companies will start with a limited scope and around 10 machines for three projects related to wind power. Furthermore, they will focus on turbine foundation excavation. Mortenson expects the partnership to grow from there.
“It’s a good step, although it’s not a massive percentage of our fleet, and what our company wants to do in 2019 is get our workforce trained,” said Sellman.
According to Built Robotics, the company can make infrastructure and renewable energy projects affordable to build by reducing dependency on hard-to-find labor. Kikani said that new technologies could in part be the answer to the question why construction productivity is lagging behind other industries.
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