July. 16, 2021
Komatsu Ltd. (President and CEO: Hiroyuki Ogawa) (hereafter “Komatsu”) today announced that Komatsu and AgJunction Inc. (President and CEO: M.Brett McMickell) (hereafter “AgJunction”) of the United States have begun a joint proof of concept (PoC) to achieve automated operation of multiple dump trucks on construction workplaces. By combining information of different work processes surrounding dump trucks in operation through full use of Digital Transformation SMARTCONSTRUCTION (hereafter “DX SMARTCONSTRUCTION”), the two parties will achieve automated operation of multiple dump trucks, responding flexibly to different work conditions. They are working to introduce this service to Japan in 2022 or 2023.
Construction workplaces are known for high variability accompanied by work progress, as represented by frequent changes of loading and dumping areas as well as hauling routes of dump trucks. They will also need to travel by avoiding movement of workers, carrying in/out of materials, and other construction equipment. To introduce automated operation of dump trucks to such construction workplaces, the two parties will combine the general-purpose automation kit, developed by AgJunction, which enables real-time obstacle detection and avoidance for the dump trucks, and automation-compatible dump trucks to be developed by Komatsu. They will also take full technological advantage of operating instruction of dump trucks to respond to position information and construction plans of DX SMARTCONSTRUCTION, thereby ensuring advanced recognition and sharing of information concerning the surrounding environs and flexible control of multiple vehicles, according to onsite conditions, and enabling automated operation of multiple dump trucks which travel between loading and dumping areas. Furthermore, they expect to cut down fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by controlling optimal vehicle deployment and haul routes.
To solve customers’ workplaces problems, Komatsu needs technologies of not only “products” (level of automation and sophistication of construction equipment), but also of “processes” (optimization level of construction operations), designed to optimize whole workplaces operations, such as improved safety of the entire workplaces, streamlined construction work, visualization of daily work, and real-time reassessment of construction plans in response to external factors, such as weather.
For construction and the civil engineering workplaces, Komatsu launched the world’s first ICT-intensive bulldozer as its “products” in 2013. In 2017, it embarked on the development of remote control system. And most recently in May 2021, Komatsu successfully performed the remotely controlled verification test of continuous soil discharge to its mobile soil recycler by improving automated loading control, as well as switching the use of multiple construction equipment units. In terms of “processes”, Komatsu launched SMARTCONSTRUCTION in 2015, and began to introduce DX SMARTCONSTRUCTION in April 2020, achieving not only “vertical digitalization” of partial production processes of construction, but also working to optimize construction by “horizontal digitalization” which connects all construction processes.
By continuing to achieve digital transformation of construction with “products” (level of automation and sophistication of construction equipment) and processes (optimization level of construction operations), together with customers, Komatsu is working to realize safe, highly productive, smart, and clean construction workplaces of the future.
[Profile of AgJunction]
Name: AgJunction Inc.
Located: Arizona, the United States of America
Representative: M. Brett McMickell, President and CEO
Line of business: A global leader of advanced guidance and semi autosteering control of precision agriculture applications. Provides vehicle control solutions to over 30 of the world’s leading precision agricultural vehicles manufacturers. Holds over 200 patents (incl. patents pending). Provides solutions based on major brands, such as Novariant®, Wheelman®, Whirl™, and Handsfreefarm®, working to achieve optimal hands-free agriculture according to all landscapes and agricultural scales.
Corporate Communications Department
Sustainability Promotion Division
*The information described is at the time of presentation and may be subject to advance notice.