'Remote Control' Bulldozers: What Technology Lies Inside

A major change comes to jobsites when construction companies acquire machines with new, highly automated capabilities. With this, engineering and construction costs are expected to be reduced by around 20 percent thanks to better coordination, according to Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm.

As one example, the technology inside bulldozers continues to advance, offering new opportunities for construction companies at the jobsite—but first operators need to know what tech lies inside.

Semi-Autonomous, Driverless Dozers

One of the biggest tech changes are semi-autonomous, driverless dozers, which are being used in mining. The semi-autonomous dozers are controlled by an operator, sitting in a remote room. The operator can control three at once, and the new technology aims to increase mine efficiency and worker safety and longevity.

These dozers aren’t run by robots; operators still control them, but from a safe, remote location without the strain on their bodies. These machines will allow operators to be up-skilled, creating a more adaptive organization.

Digging for Data

Alongside semi-autonomous capabilities, dozers can also often provide a plethora of data to help increase productivity and safety at the construction jobsite.

Most construction equipment tracks information such as idle time and fuel consumption, enabling project managers to make better decisions. A major change will come from machine autonomy going mainstream.

Predictive-data diagnostics will additionally make maintenance smoother and less costly. Operators will be able to coordinate groups of machines more easily, so that they operate as one, speeding up each phase of a project.

The groundwork is being laid for more advanced construction machinery. Newer pieces of equipment are becoming autonomous. They carry light detection and ranging, total station technology, backed up by radar, and sensors. Equipment knows what is around them and the on-board computers are smart enough to identify things that must be avoided, and make sure the vehicle avoids them.

This is just the beginning for bulldozers. The technology will continue to advance, making the construction jobsite more efficient and safe.

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