Teleo, a Palo Alto, Calif. based company building autonomous technology for heavy construction equipment, today announced that Florida-based Tomahawk Construction will become the first customer to deploy its autonomous capabilities on an active job site.
Tomahawk Construction’s articulated dump trucks will use autonomous functions to move material to build a residential community in Naples, Fl. starting in December.
According to company officials, Teleo is revolutionizing the construction and material moving industry by retrofitting traditional heavy equipment with autonomous and remote-operated technology to create supervised autonomous machines. The Teleo Supervised Autonomy system lets contractors operate existing heavy equipment without an operator in the cab, letting a single person control multiple pieces of equipment from a remote desk. This increases productivity, safety, and operator satisfaction — critical challenges in the construction industry.
The initial autonomous operations being launched involves tramming, or autonomous hauling materials from one point to another. Tomahawk Construction will use its Teleo-equipped articulated dump trucks for autonomous tramming across the Naples job site, where they will move material to build a residential community. The autonomous feature introduction will begin on three machines and roll out to 12 machines over the course of a few months.
Operators driving dump trucks spend the majority of their time tramming from one point to another. By automating the tramming portion, one operator can run multiple machines simultaneously, multiplying their productivity. The physical dumping of materials will be handled remotely by one operator controlling multiple machines from a comfortable command center.
“Teleo’s technology has the potential to completely transform our operations,” said Scott Lyons, managing member, Tomahawk Construction. “With Teleo, two of our dump trucks that have been idle will be put back into service to haul dirt across the site autonomously, allowing our remote operators to do more. This will help us to run a more efficient operation.”
“Construction companies are facing historic labor shortages and incurring significant costs as their machines sit idle,” said Vinay Shet, co-founder and CEO, Teleo. “We are seeing an unprecedented number of customer orders which demonstrates Teleo’s powerful value proposition. Our technology breathes new life into our customers’ machines, addresses their labor shortages, and makes the operators’ role safer and more comfortable.”
To date, Teleo has been testing the autonomous capabilities on two John Deere 333G Compact Track Loader skid steers at its Pleasanton, Calif. proving grounds, and on a Komatsu WA500 wheel loader moving dirt at the Ouluzone racetrack property in Finland, which is affiliated with the University of Oulu.
In addition, Teleo announced deals with eight new construction customers, including Florida-based Ajax Paving Industries. Ajax Paving will outfit two new Caterpillar wheel loaders with Teleo’s technology. These loaders will be stationed at two of the company’s asphalt manufacturing plants to load the bins at the plant. The plants are roughly 80 miles apart, marking the first time one operator will work across two job sites.
“The asphalt industry operates on tight schedules,” said Andy DeCraene, vice president, Ajax Paving. “When our customers require asphalt, we must deliver promptly, making it imperative for our machines and operators to remain available. Allowing one operator to control machines at multiple sites is a significant advantage. If an operator is unavailable at one site, another can operate the machine remotely. This is a genuine game changer for our business.”
According to the company, Ajax Paving is the first company to introduce remote operation technology from among approximately 3,500 asphalt manufacturing plants across the United States.
Collectively, Teleo’s new customers will deploy 42 new Teleo-enabled machines on 17 job sites across eight U.S. states and Europe. Teleo will retrofit machines from brands such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, John Deere and Volvo for remote and autonomous operations and these machines will range in model year from 2005 to 2022. Teleo plans to have 20 machines on customer sites by the end of this year.