Australian technology company Fastbrick Robotics (ASX: FBR) recently announced it is building a second prototype of its revolutionary robot bricklayer, Hadrian X.
Speaking with Small Caps, Fastbrick’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Pivac says there are several compelling reasons for building a second prototype.
“This isn’t unusual, in fact, to have two or more parallel prototypes is the norm for cutting-edge projects in the aeronautical and defence sectors,” he says.
“Having the additional prototype will reduce risk in the assembly and test phases, which is very important,” he adds. “It will give us a more streamlined and improved outcome through the use of simultaneous testing.”
When completed, Hadrian X will be able to lay up to 1,000 bricks an hour and build the brick component of a house within three days, according to Fastbrick.
“Another advantage of having a second Hadrian X is that it will allow us to pursue our Customer Discovery Strategy more aggressively,” he says. “We’ve already signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which positions them as an early adopter of the Hadrian X.”
The MOU contemplates the use of 100 Hadrian X robots to construct a minimum of 50,000 new homes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“Having two prototypes means we can potentially run pilot programmes in different geographical markets. So we may be able to run one in Saudi Arabia and another in a separate early adopter location,” he says.
Fastbrick also signed an MOU with Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE) earlier this year. Caterpillar initially invested USD$2 million in Fastbrick and was recently granted shareholder approval to invest a further USD$8 million. Together, Fastbrick and Caterpillar are building a strategic plan on how to commercialise Hadrian X.
To further the production of the Hadrian X prototypes, Fastbrick moved to a new purpose-built facility in April. “We’ve also made a number of new hires with our engineering team more than doubling during 2017 and as we move into 2018 we are looking to bolster our senior management team to augment the expected complexity and growth in our organisation,” he says.
“The pace of developments is really incredible. Fastbrick is in for an exciting 2018.”