Built Robotics

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Built Robotics, Inc.
FoundersNoah Ready-Campbell, Andrew Liang
San Francisco, California
ProductsFully autonomous construction equipment
Number of employees
11-50 employees

Built Robotics Inc is a San Francisco, California based vehicular automation startup that develops software and hardware to automate Heavy construction equipment that was founded in San Francisco in 2016 by Noah Ready-Campbell and Andrew Liang.[1] The company’s primary product is an AI Guidance System that converts regular construction equipment into autonomous robots through a combination of GPS, camera and artificial intelligence technology.[2]


Proof of Concept

Built Robotics began attracting attention in 2018 as one of several new companies bringing automation to the construction industry, which had been relatively slow to adopt technical innovations compared to related industries.[3] Commentators noted that a dearth of skilled workers available to fill construction and heavy equipment operator positions,[4] coupled with a need for infrastructure renewal and housing,[5] were likely driving forces behind the industry’s adoption of new technologies.[4]

Built Robotics claims to be among the first of these companies to deploy fully autonomous equipment,[6] starting with three track Loader (equipment) loaders that could dig, move and grade materials autonomously.[7] Founder Ready-Campbell, a former Google product manager who studied software engineering and had previously founded another startup,Twice, got his inspiration for Built Robotics from his father, who worked as a carpenter.[8]


At the 2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG Convention in Las Vegas, the company unveiled a fully autonomous excavator, bulldozer and skid-steer loader and demonstrated its systems’ ability to remotely pilot machinery set up on a jobsite in Houston with keyboard commands.[7][9]


AI Guidance System platform

The company’s primary technology is its “AI Guidance System,” which began development in 2016 and was first brought to market in 2018.[3] The technology was first marketed as a solution in the excavation and grading business to enable excavators and bulldozers to function autonomously.[3][5]

The company has since expanded its market to other business areas on the functionality that the AI Guidance System can be installed on different types of existing construction equipment, including dozers and skid-steers in addition to excavators.[10][11] The technology is generally adaptable to any machine with an electronically controlled hydraulic machine, as the AI Guidance System connects to the heavy equipment hydraulic system through electric-over-hydraulic (EH) systems.[12]


The AI Guidance System in a combination of sensors such as cameras and GPS with software and firmware.[7][11][12] The system software utilizes artificial intelligence technology.[2]

The AI Guidance system is considered to be fully autonomous.[7] Though it allows the existing equipment to maintain full manual operation capabilities, it adds the functionality for performing certain job site activities fully autonomously, such as digging trenches, excavating Foundation, and grading building pads.[2][7] However, as withfactory robots, human equipment operators must still manage the system’s operation, in this case by using a Built Robotics web-based Web platform to supervise and control the Computer programs automating the equipment.[12][11][9][7]


Safety measures for the autonomous equipment is implemented by geo-fencing to Fleet management confine operations to a specified area on the work site, accomplished through merging data from multiple cameras, GPS, and other equipment sensors.[7] Human operators also contribute a failsafe by managing the equipment operation through the platform and using shutdown or take over to manual operations.[13][7] Both the machine and the platform contain E-stop or "kill switch" buttons, implemented as a hardwired mechanical stop on the machine and as a wirelessly activated stop on the software platform to enable remote emergency stops.[14]


Built Robotics has a number of patents issued by the US Patent and Trademark office, including “Excavating earth from a dig site using an excavation vehicle;”[15] “Obstacle detection and manipulation by a vehicle within a dig site;”[16] and “Checking volume in an excavation tool.”[17]



Built Robotics is currently a Venture Series B startup company, having been financed through two Venture rounds of fundraising from private venture capital funds.[18][19] The company has raised a combined total of $48 million USD through its Venture Series A and Series B financings.[20][21][22][23] Investors who have contributed to the financings include Next47,NEA, Founders Fund, Building Ventures, Sumitomo Corporation Presidio Ventures, Lemnos, and other investors.[24][25] Notable advisors of the company include Carl Bass, Jeff Immelt, and Justin Kan.[26]


The technology developed by Built has been deployed on job sites in multiple US states,[27][5] which do not require regulatory approval for autonomous equipment used on non-public roads[4]. In March 2020, the company announced that it would be expanding internationally with the onboarding of its first Australian client, MPC Kinetic.[28] Notable customers and business partners include Black & Veatch, MPC Kinetic, Mortenson and Sunstate.[29][14]

Labor Relations

In March 2020, the International Union of Operating Engineers announced a formal partnership with Built Robotics through which the union will train its members to use the Built Robotics automation platform, citing a steady growth rate in jobs for heavy equipment operators coupled with an industry-wide shortage of workers.[3][4]

Further reading

  • Nichols, Greg (February 27, 2019). "Retrofit: The $15.5 trillion industry undergoing a robotic remodel". ZD Net. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  • Nichols, Greg (May 21, 2018). "Construction is embracing automation as legacy players team up with tech innovators". ZD Net. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  • Simon, Matt (October 19, 2017). "This Robot Tractor Is Ready to Disrupt Construction". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  • Francis, Sam (March 19, 2018). "Startup Built Robotics raises $15 million to develop technology to enable autonomous construction". Robotics and Automation News. Robotics and Automation News. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  • Rubenstone, Jeff (October 31, 2017). "Tech Start-up Sets Sights on Autonomous Earthmoving". Engineering News-Record. BNP Media. Retrieved 21 November 2018.


  1. Gershgorn, Dave (October 19, 2017). "Construction is as far from a Silicon Valley darling as you can get—and that's why it's ready for automation". Quartz. Uzabase. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Berreby, David (August 18, 2020). "The robot revolution has arrived". National Geographic. National Geographic. Retrieved 22 November 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Chea, Terence (March 19, 2018). "Productivity boost? Robots break new ground in the construction industry". USA Today. USA Today. Retrieved November 22, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Simonite, Tom (March 10, 2020). "Construction Workers Embrace the Robots That Do Their Jobs". Wired. Wired.com. Retrieved November 22, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Could this new tech help us build more houses?". The Mercury News. 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  6. "Built Robotics releases 1st fully autonomous construction machinery in US". Construction Dive. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 "Autonomous Vehicles May Become More Common At Construction Sites". CBS Local. 2018-04-02. Retrieved 2020-11-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. Levy, Ari (October 19, 2017). "This ex-Googler is bringing self-driving excavators to construction sites". CNBC. CNBC LLC. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "[VIDEO] Built Robotics to Unveil Autonomous Equipment". Construction Equipment. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  10. Nichols, Greg. "Retrofit: The $15.5 trillion industry undergoing a robotic remodel". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Hawkins, Andrew J. (2017-10-19). "Watch this autonomous bulldozer excavate dirt without a human operator". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Andy Brown2020-08-06T08:45:00+01:00. "Machine learning: It's all about the data". KHL. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  13. "Built Robotics". Mobile Robot Guide. 2019-10-23. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Built Robotics, Sunstate deal brings more self-driving vehicles to the jobsite". Construction Dive. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  15. [1], "Excavating earth from a dig site using an excavation vehicle", issued 2018-01-22 
  16. [2], "Obstacle detection and manipulation by a vehicle within a dig site", issued 2018-06-01 
  17. [3], "Checking volume in an excavation tool", issued 2018-01-22 
  18. Levy, Ari (2017-10-19). "This ex-Googler is bringing self-driving excavators to construction sites". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  19. "Next Up in Driverless Vehicles: Autonomous Excavators". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  20. "Built Robotics raises $33M for its self-driving construction equipment". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  21. "Built Robotics raises $33 million for automated construction equipment". VentureBeat. 2019-09-19. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  22. McSweeney, Kelly. "Robotic excavators get a boost with $33 million for Built Robotics". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  23. McSweeney, Kelly. "Robotic excavators get a boost with $33 million for Built Robotics". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  24. Gershgorn, Dave. "Can automation revolutionize the construction industry?". Quartz. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  25. Ferguson, Mike. "Look Ma! No driver. The future of construction work may be robotic". The Billings Gazette. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  26. "About — Built Robotics". www.builtrobotics.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  27. "Robots Are Poised To Transform The Construction Industry". Bisnow. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  28. "Autonomous excavators on site in Queensland". Industry. 2020-03-12. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  29. "Built Robotics Announces International Expansion, Partnership with Leading Australian Contractor MPC Kinetic | RoboticsTomorrow". roboticstomorrow.com. Retrieved 2020-11-22.

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