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Built Robotics fetches $64M to turn excavators into an autonomous robot

Built Robotics
Image credits: Built Robotics

Built Robotics, a San Francisco-based vehicular automation startup, announced that it has secured $64M in a Series C funding round led by Tiger Global

Existing investors, including NEA, Founders Fund, Fifth Wall, and Building Ventures, have joined the round. The latest funding round brings the total amount raised to $112M. 

“We’ve spent the past few years neck-deep in R&D, and it’s paid off. Our rental fleet is fully booked into 2023, and orders keep coming in,” says Noah Ready-Campbell, CEO of Built Robotics. “The Series C will give us the capital we need to ramp production and get our robots into the hands of more contractors. And autonomous trenching is just the first step — customers are already asking for backfill, compaction, material handling, loading trucks, and more.”

What does Built Robotics solve?

The demand for new infrastructure and housing has never been greater, but what used to work in construction no longer does.  

Experienced workers are retiring faster than young people are entering the industry, and much of the way we build hasn’t changed in decades.

Autonomy represents an opportunity to put new tools in the hands of skilled workers and accelerate construction with the digital technology that has revolutionised manufacturing, agriculture, and other industries. 

At the same time, new tools will attract new talent while easing the physical strain of construction for older workers. And here’s where Built Robotics comes into play. Built Robotics’ mission is to build the robots that build the world. 

Turns excavator into an autonomous robot

Founded by Andrew Liang, and Noah Ready-Campbell, Built develops an autonomy retrofit kit for excavators called Exosystem. 

Once installed, Exosystem turns any manually-operated excavator into an autonomous robot. The system features an all-weather enclosure, proximity radar, 360º cameras, and GPS. 

As per the company’s claims, the kit can be installed and calibrated on an excavator in less than a day. 

Built says contractors can rent Exosystems as standalone units to install on their fleet of equipment, or they can lease pre-upgraded excavators from Built directly. 

Contractors pay an hourly fee to license the Exosystem’s autonomous software — and depending on utilisation — they can realise cost savings of 20% or better versus traditional methods. 

Everything, including installation, training, and 24/7 support is included, and discounts are available for long-term rentals.

First-of-its-kind training partnership

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the 400,000-member union representing equipment operators in the US and Canada, has signed a first-of-its-kind training partnership with Built Robotics.

“The IUOE prides itself on having the best, most qualified, and safest operators and our goal is to ensure that the best operators know how to use the best tools, and robots are certainly one of the tools of the future,” comments Russ Burns, consultant to the IUOE and retired General Vice President of the IUOE. 

In addition, the International Standards Organization (ISO) has recently appointed Built’s Vice President, Gaurav Kikani, as a voting member of Technical Committee 127, the committee responsible for developing safety standards for autonomous earthmoving machinery.

“As a leader in autonomous construction technology, Built’s focus on easy-to-install robotic upgrades for heavy equipment is generating significant demand,” says Griffin Schroeder, Partner, Tiger Global. “We are excited to partner with them as their autonomous trenching solution helps transform the construction of solar farms, oil & gas projects, and other large and critical infrastructure projects around the world.”

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