US rental company Sunstate Equipment is partnering with Built Robotics to supply autonomous construction equipment as part of its rental offering.
Built Robotics, founded in 2016, develops autonomous equipment including skid steers, compact tracked loaders and excavators. It designs and manufactures a kit that can be used to upgrade off-the-shelf equipment from any brand, so that operators can upload job files and then leave the equipment to complete the work by itself.
The partnership is currently focused on identifying the initial set of equipment and rental locations, and Sunstate will begin offering Built-upgraded autonomous equipment to select customers in late 2019 or early 2020.
Built and Sunstate will work together to ensure that customers’ personnel receive comprehensive training to run autonomous equipment safely and effectively.
Chris Watts, CEO of Sunstate, said, “If there is a new technology that makes our customers more productive, then it’s up to us to get it into our fleet.”
Noah Ready-Campbell, CEO of Built Robotics, said, “Robotic equipment is a big change, but ultimately it will make construction safer, faster and more productive, and we believe that’s a win for everyone.
”By enabling customers to rent Built-upgraded equipment from Sunstate, we reduce the barrier to trying this technology out, and make it more approachable for contractors and operators around the country.”
The partnership is supported by Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, which is the parent company of Sunstate, and its venture capital arm Presidio Ventures, an investor in Built Robotics.
Other rental companies that are currently working on autonomous operation machines include United Rentals, with skid steers, and EquipmentShare, for compaction rollers.