While the global construction market continues to grow, the number of surveyors could be a limiting factor. Robots can help augment human labor. Civ Robotics today announced a $5 million seed funding round. The San Francisco-based startup has designed CivDot, an unmanned ground vehicle or UGV for civil engineering and infrastructure projects.
The global construction market exceeded $10 trillion in 2020, with $3.4 trillion spent on large infrastructure projects, according to Oxford Economics. Over the next decade, $1.2 trillion will be spent on investments in roadways, renewable energy, and other large public works projects in the U.S. This is partly the result of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed nearly a year ago, noted Civ Robotics.
The demand for surveyors today exceeds the supply of consultants ready to fill these jobs, driving the push to automation such as CivDot. “The construction industry faces worker shortage challenges, and CivDot is empowering efficiency and safety on the job, while driving projects forward from the start,” stated Tom Yeshurun, co-founder and CEO of Civ Robotics.
“Already, Bechtel, a leader in the EPC [engineering, procurement, and construction] industry, among a variety of others, has adopted CivDots for surveying,” he added. “Today’s funding demonstrates the opportunity in front of us as a company to construct the world around us.”
CivDot marks construction coordinates
Civ Robotics said CivDot can mark thousands of coordinates per day precisely and efficiently for large construction projects. The company claimed that its flagship product can empower workforces faced with labor shortages and the subsequent delays.
“Through the press of a button and in a fraction of the time, Civ Robotics' autonomous systems are revolutionizing projects, including solar farms, roadways, data centers, power plants, industrial development, and large infrastructure,” said Civ Robotics.
The UGV can deliver layouts up to eight times faster than traditional, manual surveying methods, the company said.
Other companies in this space include Dusty Robotics and HP.
Civ Robotics to use funding to build out
ff Venture Capital and Alley Robotics Ventures led Civ Robotics' seed round, with participation from Trimble Ventures.
“This round is an example of our proactive model of enabling founders to drive revenues and increase customer lifetime value,” said Oliver Mitchell, partner of ff Venture Capital. “CivDot is filling a huge labor void that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and bolstered by the federal government’s trillion-dollar investments in infrastructure and climate initiatives.”
“We look forward to empowering its products to become the most important tool on the construction jobsite,” he noted.
“Civ Robotics is building and deploying groundbreaking solutions to critical problems faced by the construction industry,” said Abe Murray, managing partner of Alley Robotics Ventures. “We invest in companies that solve the world's problems with robotics and industrial automation. Civ Robotics combines deep technical innovation with a proven ability to deploy its solution in the real world.”
“We are focused on investing in companies that are seeking to address important challenges in markets that align with Trimble’s mission of transforming the way the world works,” added Aviad Almagor, vice president for technology innovation at Trimble and technology advisor for Trimble Ventures.
“Civ Robotics technology supports surveyors and field workers and helps remove the burden of repetitive and risky work,” he said. “Civ Robotics uses Trimble’s high-precision GNSS [global navigation satellite system] positioning technology and surveying software to improve productivity and increase safety. This is an exciting opportunity to help accelerate innovation in autonomy, surveying, and construction.”
Civ Robotics said it plans to use its funding for sales and marketing, technology development, and growing its team both in the U.S. and Tel Aviv, Israel, where its research and development is based.