SafeAI and Obayashi Corporation have unveiled a first-of-its-kind autonomous, zero-emission haul truck, paving the way for a safer and more sustainable future in construction.
The retrofitted Caterpillar 725 represents a breakthrough in heavy industry, allowing companies to reuse existing assets while improving operations and achieving sustainability goals.
Safety and Productivity to Sustainability
Heavy industry has long faced challenges in safety, productivity, and cost. Recently, environmental concerns have risen to the forefront with the growing importance of ESG commitments. Both autonomy and electrification offer solutions, but their combined impact is truly transformative.
This project marks a significant leap forward. While autonomy and electrification have existed independently, this is the first successful retrofit of both technologies on a haul truck. This allows companies to:
- Reuse and upgrade existing assets: Extending the life of existing equipment reduces waste and costs.
- Streamline site operations: Autonomous technology optimizes workflows and reduces human error.
- Improve environmental performance: Electric vehicles eliminate emissions and contribute to carbon neutrality goals.
Open and Interoperable for a Sustainable Future
“By marrying automation and electrification together, there are compounded advantages that are otherwise hard to achieve as independent technologies,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO of SafeAI.
The benefits include:
- Enhanced safety: Automation removes employees from hazardous work environments while enabling advanced charging infrastructure.
- Increased efficiency: 24/7 operations and lower operating costs of electric vehicles boost productivity and cost-effectiveness.
- Improved sustainability: Autonomous operations alone can enhance environmental performance on worksites by up to 13%. Electrification can further reduce emissions by over 60%.
- Cost-effectiveness: Retrofit technology allows companies to upgrade existing fleets in a more affordable and environmentally friendly way compared to buying new electric, autonomous vehicles.
A Collaborative Effort
SafeAI and Obayashi have been working together since October 2020 to address common construction challenges through autonomous solutions.
SafeAI retrofitted the vehicle with its proven, OEM-agnostic autonomous technology. AVIA Engineering, a system integrator specializing in truck electrification and mechatronics, provided the fully electric drive system.
“We are proud to be part of this innovative project,” said David Sánchez, owner and CEO of AVIA Engineering.
This project marks a significant step towards a sustainable future for the construction industry. By leveraging existing assets and cutting-edge technology, companies can operate more safely, efficiently, and sustainably.