Building the 21st Century’s Power Generation Infrastructure
When we first started Built Robotics in 2016, we encountered our fair share of skepticism. Many people were unsure the technology could ever work. Others objected that even if it did, construction is an old-school industry set in its ways. We have come a long way since then, and today we are incredibly excited to announce the next chapter in our story.
We are proud to formally announce our partnership with Mortenson, one of the most respected and innovative construction firms in the country. They have been responsible for community-defining projects across the United States, from the new Chase Center in San Francisco (home of our Golden State Warriors!), to the 600 MW Rush Creek Wind project in Colorado, one of the largest wind generating facilities in the United States.
Our partnership with Mortenson is focused on earthmoving activities for renewables projects like wind and solar farms, which tend to be in remote areas, far from traditional workforce centers. The shortage of qualified labor is an industry-wide challenge right now and finding the skilled workers that large infrastructure projects demand can be even more difficult in locations like these. Our robotic equipment is able to shoulder some of the load by assisting with basic, repetitive tasks, freeing up human operators to focus on the more specific, complex and critical activities. Finally, by taking workers out of harm’s way, our technology has the potential to make autonomous job sites safer, more inclusive work environments.
Eric Sellman, Vice President and General Manager of the Civil Group at Mortenson, has championed the development and rollout of Built’s technology: “I see Built Robotics as the next generation of construction technology. Consistent with Mortenson’s history of ingenuity and innovation in construction, we are partnering with Built Robotics as they develop and deploy technology that enables autonomous heavy equipment operation. Mortenson and Built Robotics will work together with this technology on select renewable energy projects within our Wind and Solar groups. Our goal is to embrace the change that is happening in our industry to create value for our customers and opportunities for Mortenson and our team members.”
Nick Schwietz, Civil Group Project Manager at Mortenson, has been our key partner in deploying equipment in the field. “Built’s technology is amazing, and their team has integrated with us seamlessly. Over the course of our partnership, we’ve seen them make tremendous progress in just a few months. Looking ahead, I believe they will make a significant contribution to our production and accelerate our schedules on renewables projects across the country.”
To get there, we will begin training Mortenson equipment operators and mechanics on our technology this summer. Managing autonomous equipment — including installing kits, running robots, and troubleshooting and diagnosing issues — will be a key skill set on job sites in the future, and high-quality training is critical for ensuring the safe and effective rollout of our technology.
Molly Morgan, an equipment operator who works with Nick, commented, “I’m excited about the potential for Built’s technology. Our top priority is safety — if the robot can work on steep slopes, or near unstable ground, or in challenging or risky situations, then we one-hundred percent should use it. I also can see the technology giving us greater flexibility, so the robots can work on the easier parts of the job by themselves and then we can hop in the cab and take over when it’s needed. And I’m excited to learn the new skills I’ll need to work with the technology.”
Given the scale of Mortenson’s business and the support of its leadership and team members, we believe this partnership can have a big impact on the bottom line. And just as importantly, together we can streamline the construction of the 21st Century’s power generation infrastructure and have a big impact on the planet, too — something we can all be proud of.
P.S. Take a look at ENR’s great coverage!