PITTSBURGH – Seegrid, which develops self-driving industrial vehicles for materials handling purposes, today announced that its vision-guided vehicles have reached 2 million production miles at customer sites without a single personnel safety incident. The company said it took about 16 months to reach the 2 million milestone from its 1 million miles achievement in April 2018.
“We are incredibly proud that our VGVs autonomously drove an additional one million miles in just 506 days,” said Jim Rock, CEO of Seegrid. “Our safety record speaks to our commitment to moving material as safely, effectively, and efficiently as possible with unmatched technology, expertise, and passion.”
The company said safety was one of the highest priorities for companies in the materials handling space, especially when dealing with vehicles such as lift trucks, tuggers, and tow trucks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported almost 40,000 serious accidents, and one fatality per week related to manually driven forklifts in 2018.
“It’s a fair statement to say that most of our customers have safety as their number one item that they’re looking for,” said Jeff Christensen, vice president of products at Seegrid. “Safety is, no pun intended, a major drive towards customers moving towards this technology. Many customers start their journey towards automation based on safety initiatives.”
Seegrid, an RBR50 2019 honoree, said it achieves its safety through a combination of its Seegrid Vision – proprietary and unique navigation technology – with redundant safety systems to deliver “reliable and flexible material movement.” Through stereo cameras, sophisticated algorithms, and machine learning, “the patented technology enables VGVs to see and process more information about the environment than laser-based navigation systems,” Seegrid said. Customers of the company’s vehicles include Amazon, General Motors, Whirlpool, and Jaguar Land Rover, among other companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and e-commerce fulfillment space.
Christensen said the company first started collecting data on miles driven by its vehicles in 2013, and it took about five years to reach the 1 million milestone. “The big numbers [in terms of miles driven] come when companies move past the pilot programs, and we’re seeing more customers going from pilots up to fleets,” he added. At the moment, most of Seegrid’s customers are larger companies that have large facilities, operations and applications, but he said there’s also room for growth within those large companies.
The company plans to continue working on additional hardware updates and continue adding features to its fleet management software, as well as track the miles as they approach 3 million production miles. “I suspect it will certainly be faster than 500 days,” Christensen said. “I’d love to see it if it’s inside a year, but we’ll see how our fleet grows through the next quarter or two. But it would not surprise me if it comes in under a year.”