July 21, 2022
SafeAI, which develops autonomous solutions for heavy equipment, has announced a partnership with Obayashi to demonstrate a retrofitted Caterpillar 725 vehicle operating on a construction site in Japan. The demonstrations, which took place over a two-week period earlier this year, brought together delegates from nearly 50 organizations across the construction industry, including OEMs, general contractors, technology companies, universities, and Japanese government regulators.
Prior to the public demonstration, the two companies said they spent about six weeks extensively testing in a Japanese environment to confirm all the features previously developed in the U.S.-based proof of concept, which was completed in California in November 2021.
SafeAI said Japanese regulations were not originally designed to support the use of autonomous vehicles for off-road construction. However, the technology can unlock smarter, safer, more productive and sustainable construction sites, with the ability to add thousands of productivity hours annually, complete major projects 20% faster and at 25% lower cost.
The company’s autonomous solution utilizes onboard processing power to enable real-time decision making. With the latest multimodal sensors – including lidar, radars and cameras – to detect surroundings, to perception-based localization with GNSS, SafeAI said it leverages these advanced technologies to bring more effective, efficient, and scalable autonomy to heavy industry. The company said it uses a retrofit model to let companies upgrade their existing equipment, regardless of manufacturer or vehicle type, instead of limiting them to purchase new, manufacturer-built autonomous vehicles, which are costlier and more difficult to scale.
“At SafeAI, we’re committed to making heavy industry safer and more productive for companies around the world,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO of SafeAI. “In partnership with Obayashi, and through the joint demonstration of an autonomous construction vehicle in Japan, we are making major strides towards achieving that goal. From here, we are focused on securing autonomous vehicle buy-in from the government/industry organizations and executing a ramp-up plan for the construction industry that starts in Japan and expands globally from there.”
SafeAI said it will continue to work with government and industry consortium groups to review findings and evaluate regulatory changes around autonomous construction.
“We firmly believe the future of the construction industry is dependent on off-road autonomy and we’re committed to bringing this technology to Japan, where it will have a massive impact on safety, sustainability, and productivity by partnering with SafeAI,” said Shinya Sugiura from Obayashi. “The Japanese construction market poses a great opportunity for autonomous technology and the recent demos that were conducted in Japan not only confirm the functionality of the system we built, but have showcased the global viability and impact of autonomous construction projects.”
For more details about SafeAI, visit its website here.