Few robotics categories are ready to profit more from last year’s events than construction. It’s a booming area that could benefit massively from automation, a fact that was only amplified when the pandemic crippled many non-essential businesses. We’ve seen a number of players in the category lift some notable tricks over the past year, including Toggle, Dusty, Scaled, and SkyMul.
Founded in 2018, Houston-based Rugged Robotics raised $ 2.5 million in 2019. While the company is not actively raising at this time, it has already started rolling out its technology in early pilots, including a partnership with Massachusetts. the construction company Consigli.
âWe had a client who looked pretty progressive,â said Jack Moran of Consigli. âIt’s a building where we controlled the main envelope of the project, as well as the layout, which was quite complex – a lot of weird shapes that would be a challenge for us. “
Rugged’s “Roomba layout” was used to help construct a 10-story apartment building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, effectively drawing floor plans of the space that amounted to approximately 40,000 square feet per floor. . The partnership effectively finds Rugged taking a key step from its first mode of research and development to commercialization.
âThe layout process is the most important job in the build process,â Rugged founder and CEO Derrick Morse said in an interview with TechCrunch. âMarking where things are installed defines where things are built. A mistake made during the layout affects the entire construction process and leads to rework, delays and additional expense.
The team is still small, with around six full-time staff, including co-founders from NASA and Samsung. The team currently has three robots, with plans to expand to five. They print a dot matrix ink patterns on the floor to give construction crews real direction for the buildings they create.
A member of the Rugged team goes to the site with the robot to supervise the robot as it executes its plans, with the startup billing the construction company through a RaaS (robotics as a service) model.
âWe have insatiable customer demand,â Morse said. âWe have several multi-billion dollar contractors who are happy to do pilots and demonstrations with us. We will grow the organization and the fleet over the next 12 months, and we will likely bring in additional capital to enable this growth.