Robot Operational Control
End-to-end, we created an efficient, optimized system for autonomous vehicle operation
In the nearly $1 trillion construction industry, with a dwindling labor force and the pressing need for a speed-to-market solution, United Rentals enlisted Fresh to automate critical elements of their workflow. Identifying efficient material delivery as an area of opportunity, we developed an application to help employees manage the delivery routes of multiple autonomous vehicles on a construction site, addressing critical challenges like a tight labor market, data reporting accuracy, and safety.
For seamless autonomous vehicle operation, we integrated hardware and firmware into one UI. The app was created by a cross-disciplinary team including electrical, mechanical, and systems engineers, front- and back-end developers, and UX designers, ensuring that the effort was design-led and authentic to the workflow of the application’s end users. Most importantly, it solves a critical challenge: giving ROC users complete control over a vehicle’s mission, from scheduling to navigation, data acquisition, and fleet management.
The elements of the challenge
We broke down the challenge into its component parts, then created an application that addressed everything.
Tight Labor Market: It’s difficult for construction crews to find and retain enough workers. Using autonomous vehicles would remove the need for a driver, potentially halving the number of employees needed.
Reporting Accuracy: Most logging is tracked by hand, so gaining insight into what supplies were delivered can be difficult. Workers sometimes embellish the amount of work they actually accomplish as well.
Safety: Accidents involving heavy machinery can lead to disaster and injury to both individuals and property.
Autonomous hardware, navigated by one integrated application
Everything a user needs to manage fleets is located in one app. The Fresh approach has always been multidisciplinary. ROC stands as a testament to this: because design, development, and engineering collaborated from the outset, the end result was something that was strong in all areas. From the moment it was delivered, ROC can be picked up, used, and relied upon with confidence in its ability to aid operational control.
Schedule, monitor & manage autonomous missions
ROC gives users complete control of the vehicle’s mission. From scheduling missions ahead of time to planning routes with pinpoint accuracy, from monitoring errors in real-time to editing site layouts, operators have a single hub from which to manage their fleet.
Simplifying operations with design-led engineering
To ensure that the complex operation and management of autonomous vehicles was user-friendly for everyday operators, we applied principles of usability and focused our effort on creating a highly visual UI. Design choices were based on a visual design language that decreases the user’s cognitive load, allowing operators to recognize and understand detailed metrics at a glance without inhibiting safety or ceasing time-sensitive operations.