Quickie: Siemens invests in Built Robotics

Sep 20, 2019 | Hot Topics

So much news these days: TechCrunch reported yesterday that Siemens AG has participated in a $33 million Series B financing round at Built Robotics via its Next47 investment division, joining other investors Building Ventures, Founders Fund, Presidio Ventures, Lemnos and NEA. According to TechCrunch, Next47’s T.J. Rylander will join Built Robotic’s board of directors.

Built Robotics is interesting, selling an “automated guidance” kit that’s added onto exiting construction equipment to make it more intelligent and allow an equipment operator to program and monitor assets working autonomously. That kit enables an older excavator, for example, to take advantage of location technologies like GPS, laser scanning LIDAR, WiFi and other modern stuff by attaching it to older mechanical and electrical systems on the excavator. Built Robotics charges a fee whenever the excavator or whatever is in autonomous mode.

That’s big for two reasons: a lot of autonomous-ing today requires new equipment, yet bulldozers and excavators are crazy expensive and unlikely to be replaced only to ready an enterprise for cutting-edge technologies. AND autonomous operations on construction sites means that experienced construction workers (of whom there are fewer than you might think) can be applied to critical tasks. If done right, autonomous is also usually associated with fewer safety incidence.

And because you’re curious: Carl Bass, the former CEO of Autodesk, is a Built Robotics board member. As far as I know, Autodesk itself is not an investor.