Self-Driving Track Loader Has Started Moving Dirt on its First Commercial Jobsite

Built Robotics’ Autonomous Track Loader (ATL) first made headlines late last year when it began beta tests on small test tracks in San Francisco.   The ATL is powered by a rooftop cargo carrier that is filled with electronic equipment, including Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR).  LIDAR utilizes a pulsing laser in order to measure distance and range from objects around it.

The robotic track loader is undergoing its first real test on a commercial construction site in Billings, Montana, but the company says that they’re still in the research in development phase. Billings construction company CMG Construction has partnered with Built Robotics to help build a nightspot called “The Den.”

Representatives from CMG told local news station KTVQ that seeing the ATL on-site is like the Orville Brothers’ 12 second flight, which kicked off the duo’s first success in the airplane business. Sensors let the on-board computers know when the bucket is full and when the machine is getting too much resistance

Among those on-site watching the robot were around 250 students from local schools and 40 other business professionals, according to CMG. Engineers were also busy coding and tweaking the algorithm for better efficiency.

Right now, the company admits that the process using the ATL is slower than human operators.  The company also plans to add the technology to large pieces of construction equipment in the future.

Check out the video below for more information from KTVQ: