Teleo, a heavy equipment technology company, is expanding its customer base and dealer network as the company looks to implement its semi-autonomous technology.
OEMs such as Honda and Bobcat plan to expand into autonomous vehicles, but their products are in the prototype stages. Teleo developed a technology called supervised autonomy, which the company is retrofitting on construction equipment for their customer and dealer partners.
“The core of what we do is blend remote operation of these machines with autonomy, its concept is what we call supervised autonomy,” Vinay Shet, co-founder and chief executive of Teleo, told Equipment Finance News. “What we’re seeing is that there’s more work to be done in [construction] than there are people available today.”
Palo Alto, Calif-based Teleo has partnered with construction companies Ontario-based John Aarts Group, Sacramento, Calif.-based Teichert and Fort Myers, Fla.-based Tomahawk Construction to develop remote-operated equipment. The company also expanded its dealer partner network to include Dobbs Positioning Solutions, RDO Equipment Co., SMS Equipment Inc. and SR-O Technology, which gives the company a larger global reach and allows more customers to access the technology through financing, leasing and renting equipment.
Teleo is retrofitting the machines of its construction clients and dealer partners, allowing them to have semi-autonomous functions. “The idea here is that we can retrofit any make and model for our customers, so we will work with their existing fleet,” Shet said.
Improving labor concerns
Labor shortages in the construction industry present a challenge for companies, as 91% of construction firms are having difficulty finding workers, which is increasing costs and project delays, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk.
“Our customers’ No. 1 problem that they’re telling us is they have a labor shortage, and they know there are not enough skilled people to do the work,” Shet said. “We believe that this menu of options we can offer them allows them to be creative and possibly have the operators work out of the office location on job sites.”
Teleo’s kit includes the addition of cameras on the equipment, which improves the safety of manual laborers. “What’s different is your visibility around the machine. … We see them being able to look all around the machine, and there’s no blind spots anywhere because there’s cameras on them,” Shet said. “In fact, on our wheel loaders, we even have cameras under the bucket, so when you raise the bucket and your view is completely blocked off, you can still see because you can see under the bucket, and you can see where you’re going.”
Teleo received $12 million in a series A funding round led by Santa Monica, Calif.-based venture capital fund UP Partners, according to Crunchbase.