Investment in Australian Startup Baraja
Accelerating the Improvement of AHS and Autonomous Operation of Ultra-Large Hydraulic Excavators through Open Innovation
Tokyo, Japan March 25, 2021 —- Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd (TSE: 6305, “Hitachi Construction Machinery”) announced that the company invested in Australian startup Baraja Pty Ltd (Headquarters: Sydney, Australia; “Baraja”) on March. Through its investment in Baraja, Hitachi Construction Machinery will use Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR* technology to accelerate the pace of development for improvements to the autonomous haulage system (AHS) for mining dump trucks and autonomous operation of ultra-large hydraulic excavators.
In recent years, the trend toward automated, autonomous, and electrified mining machinery has accelerated, and there is a growing need for solutions that streamline and optimize not only mining machinery but also overall mining operations. Against this backdrop, Hitachi Construction Machinery has been strengthening its solutions for the overall mining operations, including the development of AHS and “ConSite® Mine”, which helps solve problems at mine sites. To further accelerate this trend, Hitachi Construction Machinery has decided to invest in Baraja, a company that has created and builds Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR, a breakthrough technology essential for highly automated operations.
Through this investment, Hitachi Construction Machinery will be able to work closely with Baraja to accelerate the development of Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR products with mine site specifications and strengthen local support.
Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR uses a prism-like optical sensor head to measure distances to objects in all directions with high resolution, and is exceptionally durable because it has few moving parts in its mechanism. With active contracts in place in mines and a great deal of expertise in operating in mining environments, we believe it is optimal to utilize this technological expertise in the development of automation and autonomous operation at Hitachi Construction Machinery.
The Hitachi Construction Machinery Group has long been promoting the “One Hitachi” initiative to bring together a wide range of Hitachi Group technologies and “Open Innovation” to create new value using technologies and services from outside the Group, including the launch of the “Venture Investment Promotion Project” in April 2020 to strengthen collaboration with startups.
Going forward, we will continue to provide “Solution Linkage®” solutions that utilize ICT and IoT called to customers in the mining industry around the world to help them achieve the higher levels of safety and productivity they seek. Furthermore, we will accelerate our open innovation activities, including investments with startups that are necessary for our business strategy, such as our recent investment in Baraja.
* LiDAR…Abbreviation for Light Detection And Ranging. This technology detects the shape of an object and the distance to the object by irradiating the object with a laser beam and capturing the reflected light with a sensor.
Comment from Hideshi Fukumoto Vice President, Executive Officer, and CTO, Hitachi Construction Machinery; President of Research & Development Group; and President of Client Solutions Group
Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR is a must-have technology providing better autonomous sensing solutions for mining customers who demand increasingly higher safety and production efficiency. We are delighted to be working with Baraja, a company with leading-edge technology in this field. More than just an investment relationship, we expect that this relationship will lead to technological improvements and accelerated commercialization for both parties in areas such as terrain measurement and obstacle detection. Through this investment, Hitachi Construction Machinery will accelerate the improvement of autonomous haulage systems (AHS) and the practical application of remote and autonomous operation of ultra-large hydraulic excavators, as well as expand its application to the civil engineering and construction fields. We will also strengthen our open innovation initiatives in the digital field, such as this one.
Comment from Federico Collarte, CEO of Baraja
“Legacy LiDAR systems have been hampered by poor performance with limits on range, resolution and field of view. Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR technology delivers reliability that’s proven in the field by partners such as Hitachi Construction Machinery— one of the world’s most innovative machine manufacturers. Both this latest capital and our ongoing partnership with Hitachi Construction Machinery will help us advance our mission of helping make self-driving vehicles an everyday reality sooner.”
|Company name||Baraja Pty Ltd|
|Business activities||Development and sales of LiDAR using remote sensing technology|
|Representative||CEO: Federico Collarte|
|Headquarters||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Number of Employees||130 (as of March 2021)|
ConSite and Solution Linkage is a registered trademark of Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Ltd.
March 25, 2021:Baraja’s news release
Information contained in this news release is current as of the date of the press announcement, but may be subject to change without prior notice.