Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (“SCOA”) together with Sumitomo Corporation (“SC”) is pleased to announce a groundbreaking partnership between one of the company’s most recent investments, Built Robotics, and SCOA group company Sunstate Equipment Co. (“Sunstate”). This partnership is the first of its kind within the construction industry and will provide autonomous construction equipment for rent to contractors around the nation.
Founded in San Francisco in 2016, Built Robotics is the leading developer of autonomous equipment including skid steer, compact track loaders, excavators, bulldozers and more. Phoenix-based Sunstate has made a name for itself as a “people-first” company with high-quality construction equipment and dependable service for over 40 years. The two companies were connected by SCOA, whose aim is to enhance their existing businesses through technology being developed in Silicon Valley and around the world. “As technology strategic investors, we are constantly seeking game-changing applications of the latest technology, and as a diversified industrial corporation, our business groups feel the shortage of skilled construction labor firsthand,” says Tak Niki, General Manager of SCOA’s Silicon Valley Office. “Built Robotics helps solves this pain point by leveraging truly impressive technology, and we’re thrilled to help accelerate their go-to-market by bringing them together with Sunstate Equipment, one of our most successful operating companies.”
Through this collaboration, Sunstate will be able to offer its customers a new construction experience with a safer work environment for their employees. “For us, it starts with the customer,” said Chris Watts, CEO of Sunstate Equipment. “If there’s a new technology that makes our customers more productive, then it’s up to us to get it into our fleet. We believe Built’s autonomous upgrade kits have the potential to do just that, and we’re excited to partner with them to roll out this technology to our customers.”
Built Robotics designs and manufactures autonomous kits to upgrade off-the-shelf equipment from any brand. This kit allows equipment operators to work remotely to upload job files, at which point the equipment will complete the work on its own. Sunstate will strategically select equipment from its fleet to upgrade and will make them available to customers. The upgraded equipment will be run using Built Robotics software. “Built is thrilled to partner with Sunstate to get our technology in the hands of more customers and remote equipment operators,” said Noah Ready Campbell, CEO of Built Robotics. “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.”
Built Robotics and Sunstate will work together to ensure that their customers’ personnel receive comprehensive training to run autonomous equipment safely and effectively. Every piece of autonomous equipment uses a three-layer safety system. Firstly, sensors such as cameras and LiDAR sensors are used to avoid pedestrians, vehicles and other obstacles. Secondly, the equipment’s work area is contained within a geo-fence, which confines movement of the equipment to a designated zone. Third, the equipment is outfitted with hardwired and wireless emergency stop buttons, enabling the remote equipment operator to stop the vehicle instantly at any time. Sunstate will begin offering Built Roboticsupgraded autonomous equipment to select customers in late 2019 or early 2020.