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Press releases

18 May 2020

Laing O'Rourke spins out Presien with backing from Main Sequence Ventures to make construction sites smarter and safer

Australian artificial intelligence startup Presien has raised $4 million in funding from Main Sequence Ventures manager of the CSIRO Innovation Fund.

Presien, which will be led by Dr Kieran MacKenzie and Dr Nathan Kirchner, has been set up to bring artificial intelligence technology to heavy industries around the world including construction, mining and manufacturing to improve safety and productivity. 

Dr MacKenzie and Dr Kirchner, both former Laing O’Rourke Australia employees, were responsible for the development of the award-winning artificial intelligence computer vision system - the Toolbox Spotter, which will be the first product brought to market by Presien.

The Toolbox Spotter, developed in Australia by Laing O’Rourke, sees objects, understands what they are and what actions to take, seamlessly and in real-time, with no special tags or changes in normal site operating procedures. It can be installed on mobile plant and fixed infrastructure to reduce or eliminate people to plant, plant to plant, and plant to infrastructure interactions.

Laing O’Rourke Australia Managing Director Cathal O’Rourke, who will play an ongoing role on the Board of Presien, congratulated the organisation for its successful beginning. 

“As an organisation that is committed to finding new and innovative ways to keep our people safe, and improve work practices across the industry, we are proud to support Presien,” Mr O’Rourke said. 

“We always knew that the Toolbox Spotter, and other artificial intelligence products, had the ability to improve the way our industry goes to work, and we look forward to seeing what is next from Presien.” 

Presien CEO Dr Kieran MacKenzie, who welcomed the support from both Laing O’Rourke and Main Sequence Ventures, said he was excited for what the future holds. 
“Our goal is to make artificial intelligence vision systems that will revolutionise the heavy industries by enabling smarter safety, assurance, productivity, and security solutions,” Dr MacKenzie said. 

“Advanced technology like Presien’s shows how you can improve workers’ lives while delivering great operational value to customers,” said Michael Zimmerman, Partner at Main Sequence Ventures. 

“We are delighted to be helping launch Presien and to partner with Laing O’Rourke to commercialise this ground-breaking solution.”  
The Toolbox Spotter is already playing a major role in the safe delivery of infrastructure projects across Australia with major infrastructure operators and delivery partners adopting the technology including Laing O’Rourke, Transport for NSW, BHP, FMG, Patrick, Queensland Rail, McConnell Dowell, Metro Trains Melbourne, Georgiou and Aurizon.
Paul Stathers, Director – WHS, Transport for NSW said that the Toolbox Spotter system has been deployed on major Transport for NSW road construction projects including The Northern Road Stage 4, Albion Park Rail Bypass and the Northern Beaches Hospital project.  

“The rollout of Toolbox Spotter forms part of our Project SafeR initiative seeking to address a key critical risk identified within the road construction industry through collaboration with our Industry Partners,” Mr Stathers said.

“The Toolbox Spotter system was selected for its ability to function without the need for workers, or others at risk, to wear special tags or devices.  Transport for NSW has been delighted to work with Presien to collaborate on the development of this technology for the road construction context and is confident the technology can become a standard feature of the safe system of work for the industry.”  

For more information head to 

Presien chief technology officer Nathan Kirchner and Presien chief executive officer Kieran MacKenzie have founded an AI-led company that uses new technology to develop safer automated systems for use in construction and mining.

The Toolbox Spotter

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