Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of heavy construction machinery, has bought a stake in Californian firm Marble Robot.
In a press release, Caterpillar said it had acquired "select assets and hired employees" from Marble Robot, suggesting that it had bought a share of the firm rather than the whole organisation.
The statement said the acquisition was part of Caterpillar’s automation and autonomy strategy and that it planned "to leverage the deep expertise of the new team to bring scalable solutions to meet the changing needs of construction, quarry, industrial and waste industries".
Kevin Peterson, Marble’s former chief executive, now a Caterpillar technologist, said: "In many ways, this completes a full circle for me. I had the privilege of working with Caterpillar early in my career at Carnegie Mellon, where they sponsored the development of the first generation of self-driving vehicle software.
"Now, with the acquisition of the Marble team, together we will drive the next generation of autonomy solutions for Caterpillar customers in the construction, quarry, industrial and waste industries."
Karl Weiss, Caterpillar’s chief technology officer, said: "Our customers need the best solutions for running an effective jobsite, with improved operator productivity, lower operating costs, and greater efficiency brought by autonomous solutions.
"That’s why we’re continuing to invest in the areas of automation, remote control and autonomy."
Image: Hadrian the brick-laying robot, Caterpillar has a stake in its developer Fastbrick Robotics (Fastbrick Robotics)