SafeAI, a global leader in autonomous heavy equipment, announced a collaboration with Siemens to create an autonomous, zero emission heavy vehicle fleet for Obayashi Corporation. SafeAI and Siemens will work with Obayashi Corporation, a Japan-based global leader in construction, to create smarter, safer, more sustainable and productive construction sites.
SafeAI and Obayashi originally announced their partnership in October 2020, beginning with a pilot site in Cupertino, CA, USA. Together, the two companies set out to address common pain points across construction—including unsafe working conditions, labor shortages and rampant inefficiencies—with autonomous solutions. Since then, they have successfully tested and deployed an articulated autonomous dump truck to complete over 580 load-haul-dump cycles.
SafeAI and Siemens signed an agreement in May 2021 to jointly work on retrofitting off-road heavy vehicles for autonomy, zero emission and connected applications, due to the increasing convergence of these three megatrends in vehicles. SafeAI brings its powerful, scalable AI-powered retrofit autonomy to the collaboration, while Siemens provides its industry-leading hardware and software capabilities in zero emission powertrains, and the necessary infrastructure to operate these vehicles.
Earlier this year, a fleet of 300 construction trucks—ranging from 45 – 65 tons and operated by Obayashi Corporation—was identified to be retrofitted for autonomy and zero emission. In May 2022, the companies began retrofitting the first 45 ton vehicle, which is expected to be ready by the end of 2022. The collaboration will continue scaling across the entire fleet over a three year period.
“At SafeAI, we’ve always been committed to making heavy industry safer and more productive. Now, in partnership with Siemens, we can add ‘more sustainable’ to that list,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO of SafeAI. “Siemens has already built a track record of advancing on-road electrification. Now, together, we can deliver these capabilities, at scale, to off-road industries. With this partnership, our present and future customers can experience the powerful, synergistic benefits of autonomy and electrification.”
“Heavy vehicle retrofit for autonomy and zero emission is an innovative yet cost-effective solution that will fast track adoption of sustainable technologies for heavy vehicles. Not to forget, retrofit is a form of reuse or recycle and hence in line with circular economy principles to better meet net zero goals. Combined with creative financing models and rigorous focus on safety, there could be as many retrofitted zero emission heavy vehicles as newly built zero emission heavy vehicles by 2030,” said Zubin Sarkar, head of strategy, business development and marketing at Siemens Commercial Vehicles.