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June 7, 2024

Remote Control and Autonomous Machine Use Grows

The Built Exosystem is designed for excavators from 15 to 50 tons to enable them to operate autonomously. The system includes an all-weather enclosure, proximity radar, 360-degree cameras, GPS, and a liquid-cooled computer.

Built says its system features state-of-the-art RTK, GPS, and IMUs and proprietary kinematic software.

The mounting system goes on the tail of the excavator and can be detached when needed. Cameras, and other sensors, are mounted with magnets and U-clamps. Installation takes a few hours and is fully reversible, the company says. Mounting hardware is built in to allow the unit to be lifted with service trucks, forklifts, and other excavators.

Finally, the system preserves the availability of manual operation of the machine, including rear-view backup cameras and native controls.

Safe AI, another autonomous provider, has just started a pilot program with CRH Ventures, a subsidiary of global building materials company CRH PLC. The pilot program aims to evaluate the feasibility and capabilities of SafeAI’s technology for autonomous operations in quarrying.

SafeAI’s retrofit solution utilizes imaging, detection, and positioning technologies with Artificial Intelligence to enable heavy off-road hauling vehicles to operate autonomously. CRH Ventures has engaged SafeAI for a pilot program at one of its prominent quarrying subsidiaries in North America. The autonomous truck, equipped with SafeAI’s technologies, will operate in an isolated area under the supervision of a test driver.

This pilot program with SafeAI aligns with our commitment to explore innovative solutions for more efficient and sustainable quarrying operations,” said Eduardo Gomez, head of CRH Ventures, in a statement. “We are excited to assess the potential of autonomous hauling technology in a controlled environment and the possibilities for future scaling.”

The pilot program is designed to simulate quarry operations and will run for approximately one year. The success of the initiative will be evaluated based on predetermined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) over various test scenarios, comparing autonomous performance against traditionally manned operations.

“While this marks an important step in our exploration of autonomous hauling solutions, it’s crucial to clarify that, at this stage, CRH Ventures is focusing on piloting the technology before finalizing any strategic investments,” Gomez said.

In Japan, Safe AI has worked with heavy civil firm Obayashi on retrofitting a Caterpillar 725 ADT. Obayashi believes that by 2030 all construction equipment will be autonomous in Japan and the civil engineering process will be directed from a comfortable office.

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