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SafeAI and Obayashi produce autonomous haul truck

SafeAI and Obayashi have teamed up to unveil a first-of-its-kind construction haul truck

SafeAI, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology, and Obayashi Corporation, a Japanese construction company, have unveiled a retrofit zero-emission, autonomous haul truck.

The Caterpillar 725 is the first haul truck to be retrofitted with autonomous and electrification technology.

Safe AI says autonomy and electrification have both been used independently in the past, but this is the first time a haul truck has been successfully retrofitted with both technologies.

Companies will now be able to reuse and upgrade their existing assets whilst streamlining site operations and improving environmental performance.

“Just as our autonomous solution is designed to be open and interoperable to be applied to any make or model vehicle, we want our solution also to be powered by any energy source. This project is a step in that direction as it showcases how our autonomous ground vehicle stack is EV-compatible,” SafeAI founder and CEO Bibhrajit Halder says.

“This pioneering project is a testament to our commitment to an energy-agnostic, autonomous future where efficiency and sustainability go hand in hand.”

Combining electrification and an autonomous vehicle will provide a range of advantages that would be harder to achieve as separate technologies.

Worksites will be safer as employees will not need to drive or refuel vehicles and will be able to distance themselves from potentially hazardous worksites.

Companies will increase in efficiency due to the constant working power of autonomous vehicles, whilst also having lower operating costs than they would using non-electric vehicles.

SafeAI says autonomy can boost environmental performance on worksites by up to 13 per cent and by using electric vehicles instead of diesel, operators can cut net life cycle emissions by over 60 per cent.

Cost-effectiveness is also a huge advantage of pairing automation and electrification on a retrofit vehicle, as companies will be able to upgrade existing assets instead of paying significant amounts for brand-new electric and autonomous vehicles.

SafeAI and Obayashi have worked together since October 2020 to provide autonomous solutions to common problems in the construction industry.

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