(VIDEO) Teleo brings remote operation capabilities to three construction partners
Expanded dealer network set to bring autonomous equipment to Canada, Europe, and the U.S.
Teleo, a company building autonomous technology for heavy construction equipment, has completed deals with John Aarts Group, Teichert, and Tomahawk Construction for remote-operated wheel loaders, bulldozers, and dump trucks, respectively. In addition, Teleo has started to expand globally through a new dealer partner network spanning across the United States, Europe, and Canada with Dobbs Positioning Solutions, RDO Equipment Co., SMS Equipment Inc., and SR-O Technology.
Construction and mining work is skilled, physically demanding, and often dangerous. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 91 percent of construction firms are having a hard time finding workers to hire, driving up costs and project delays. To address this issue, Teleo is introducing an incremental approach to autonomy with its system, Teleo Supervised Autonomy, which enables remote and semi-autonomous operations of any make and model of heavy construction equipment. When using the technology, one operator can control multiple machines from the a command centre.
Full autonomy, which doesn't require any human intervention, is still many years away for the construction industry and many others. Teleo's system keeps operators involved, having them remotely perform complex tasks that the technology cannot yet fully handle. The company utilizes autonomous technology to provide value for contractors. Deploying the Teleo system with its central command centre can help attract more operators, increase site productivity, and offer increased operational visibility.
"The construction industry is experiencing a growing skilled labour shortage," says Vinay Shet, co-founder and CEO of Teleo. "We founded Teleo to help contractors supercharge their operators' efforts by turning their equipment into semi-autonomous machines. By moving the operator out of the cab of the machine and into a command centre, we're also making the operator's role safer, comfortable, and more accessible."
Utilizing semi-autonomous heavy equipment technology
Teleo is making the adoption of remote and semi-autonomous heavy equipment easier with the help of the global dealer partner network. The company works with contractors to identify the best use cases for the Teleo system and handles everything from operator training to network implementation.
Tomahawk Construction, Teichert, and John Aarts Group are early adopters of Teleo's autonomous technology.
Tomahawk, a Florida-based excavation and site development company, is partnering with Teleo to deploy its technology on 12 articulated dump trucks for land development where the trucks will haul dirt across a job site. The remote-operated trucks are expected to help Tomahawk operations run more efficiently amid a labour shortage. Remote operations are expected to begin in the summer of 2023 with two machines in Naples, Florida. Tomahawk will transition to semi-autonomous operations later this year.
"We have had two trucks sitting around for 10 months without operators in them," says Scott Lyons, managing member of Tomahawk Construction. "With Teleo, more people will be attracted to this job because they can run trucks from our office and save hours of drive time to and from job sites. Due to the current labour market, we know going forward we need to do more with less. I believe the Teleo system is the vehicle to make that happen."
Teichert, a California construction and materials company in business since 1887, is working with Teleo to retrofit two bulldozers. Teleo delivered its first retrofitted machine to Teichert, a 2012 Caterpillar D10T bulldozer, in the summer of 2022. The second machine, a 2022 Caterpillar D10T2 bulldozer retrofitted with Teleo Supervised Autonomy technology, will be deployed on-site for work at the company's sand and gravel mine near Tracy, California, in the second quarter of 2023.
The Teleo system is designed to operate day and night and Teichert will be the first Teleo user to launch night operations. The machine will be used to remotely push sand and gravel to an on-site processing plant. The materials produced at the plant are used in asphalt, concrete, and infrastructure projects throughout the California Central Valley and the Bay Area. Teichert plans to retrofit more machines with Teleo's technology.
"We believe Teleo's technology can help a good operator become a great operator," says Dan Campbell, head of engineering at Teichert Materials. "The technology will improve the operator experience, making the job safer and more comfortable for our team members. The central command centre also makes it easier for operators to go on breaks and creates a seamless and efficient transition between shifts."
John Aarts Group
John Aarts Group, a Canadian construction services company, will utilize Teleo's remote operation capabilities to virtually load a concrete plant. A John Deere 624K wheel loader will be retrofitted with Teleo's technology to remotely load and unload materials in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada starting in the second quarter of 2023. This role traditionally includes a lot of stop-and-go work, which results in significant unproductive time. The Teleo system increases efficiency allowing operators to focus on higher-impact work, while also addressing a talent shortage that the industry is currently facing.
"Our goal with introducing Teleo's autonomous technology is to further support our team," says Ryan Aarts, CEO of John Aarts Group. "There is more work to be done than there are operators, and Teleo is helping us to create opportunities for team members to do more of the meaningful work they like to do. We've always been early adopters of technology and we are partnering with Teleo to load our concrete plant because we saw an opportunity to increase efficiency."
Teleo's supervised autonomy technology
Teleo's system includes the company's proprietary software; a universal retrofit kit customized for any machine; a remote command centre to operate the equipment; and a mesh network, which offers connectivity on-site so the command centre can communicate with the machine. The universal retrofit kit is designed to withstand the harsh conditions associated with operating heavy construction equipment, which includes enduring thousands of hours of heavy vibrations. The kit incorporates sensors such as high dynamic range cameras that are capable of offering high-definition visibility and video footage both day and night.
Once a machine is retrofitted with Teleo's technology, a skilled operator can control multiple machines, at multiple sites, from a single station. The technology brings the operator experience to the remote command centre by bringing the sound and feel of the machine into the room as if they were operating it in person. Later this year, Teleo will launch semi-autonomous operations in addition to the current remote operations technology.
Benefits of Teleo's system
- Attracting more operators: By transitioning these roles from the field to a remote command centre, Teleo is creating a safe and comfortable work environment. This makes the role of the operator more attractive, making it easier to recruit, train, and deploy skilled employees, while also making the job more accessible.
- Increasing site productivity: Multiple machines, across multiple sites, can be controlled by one operator. Productivity is increased by having one operator location rather than multiple, which creates less machine downtime between breaks and shift changes on large sites.
- Enhancing operational visibility: With Teleo Insite, the company's data and analytics platform, Teleo offers users visibility and access to metrics that will continuously improve job site productivity.
- Driving down costs: Operating construction sites is increasingly expensive. The Teleo system offers users operational savings with payback expected in less than a year. Teleo technology also combats machine damage and wear, property damage, and operator error.
- Increasing safety: Working from the protected environment of the remote command centre, operators are now removed from harm's way, keeping them safe and productive.
Combining skilled workers with autonomous technology
In 2019, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vinay Shet and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Rom Clement founded Teleo. Both had led autonomous vehicle teams at Lyft and helped develop Street View and other technologies at Google. At Teleo, they lead a team with decades of technology and construction industry experience hailing from companies such as Tesla, Amazon, Zoox, BAE Systems, Topcon, and more.
"Progress in autonomous vehicle technology has been steady but has failed to have a meaningful impact," says Shet. "In order for this technology to have an impact today, the problem must be constrained. With its controlled environments, the construction industry provides the ideal match for what is technically feasible and the urgent pain points that contractors are facing today. Teleo's supervised autonomous technology enables companies to realize value now, rather than waiting several years for full autonomy."
Global expansion through a dealer network
Teleo wants its technology to be backed up with a strong dealer network. Teleo's path to market through distributors offers users service and support from a supplier they already know and trust. The dealer network provides high-quality installation of the Teleo system, which ensures successful integration. In addition, the dealers provide ongoing support, operator training, and warranty management of Teleo's technology to maximize uptime for contractors.
Dobbs Positioning Solutions
Dobbs Positioning Solutions is a Topcon dealer and the technology division of Dobbs Equipment, a full-service John Deere and Wirtgen Group dealership serving Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Dobbs Positioning Solutions and Dobbs Equipment serve contractors in residential and commercial construction, site development, underground, road building, aggregates, and mining industries. Recently, John Deere Construction and Forestry Division named Dobbs Equipment as a 2022 winner of its Onyx Circle award for the fourth consecutive year. The award recognizes the top-performing John Deere dealers in the United States and Canada. Dobbs Positioning Solutions is supporting Tomahawk Construction's order and implementation of Teleo-retrofitted dump trucks.
RDO Equipment Co.
Founded in 1968, RDO Equipment Co. sells and supports agriculture, construction, environmental, irrigation, positioning, and surveying equipment from manufacturers like John Deere, Vermeer, and Topcon. RDO is a total solutions provider with more than 75 locations across the Midwest, Texas, and Southern California, offering machine technology, including Teleo Supervised Autonomy technology.
SMS Equipment Inc.
SMS Equipment is one of the largest Komatsu dealers with a network of business centres across Canada, Alaska, and Mongolia supporting heavy equipment sales, parts, service, and advanced technology solutions in the construction, mining, and forestry industries. The company is dedicated to evolving its services and products to deliver value and meet the unique requirements of its customers that keep job sites running safely, efficiently, and productively, even in extreme conditions. SMS Equipment has a lot of experience in autonomous solutions and has deployed fleets of self-driving mining haul trucks. SMS Equipment is supporting Teleo's regional deployment and the relationship with John Aarts Group, with several other opportunities coming up.
SR-O Technology is the technology and system integration business unit of Suomen Rakennuskone Oy. SR-O Technology provides smart technology solutions and services such as machinery automation, fleet management, data analytics, and wireless network solutions. SR-O Technology has a history of providing technology to the mining and construction industry. SR-O serves Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
See Teleo's technology in action at CONEXPO
Teleo will be demonstrating its technology in Las Vegas at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in the Diamond Lot. At the exhibit, there will be two remote operation stations. One station will control an on-site skid-steer loader and the other will control a skid-steer located at a site in northern California.