Cloud-based remote control technology is coming to a construction site near you

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Written by Ontario Construction News staff

Norwegian tech company Steer AS has launched its newest product, aimed at improving safety and efficiency on building sites: cloud-based technology for controlling construction equipment from a distance.

Using Steer’s innovation, equipment can be controlled remotely, with the operator using a high-resolution image to direct the machine’s movements. Alternatively, the machine can have pre-determined routes and move semi-autonomously. Operators can also control several pieces of equipment at a time, or toggle back and forth between machines with the touch of a finger.

Since the technology is cloud-based, it is online, and there are no distance limitations to the equipment’s capabilities

“It is possible to place three drivers in three different global time zones where the drivers control the same equipment divided in three shifts,” reads a press release from Steer. “This means that the production can be increased to a full 24-hour shift!

Steer says the technology can be used on many different kinds of equipment, and for many different brands, with very little tweaking on the machines

“We have successfully retrofitted and remotely controlled vehicles such as xcavators, bulldozers and tractors from Caterpillar, Volvo and John Deere (amongst others). The hardware and software developed by Steer makes the cloud technology extremely flexible and quick to install,” said Steer head of development Lars Tronsmoen

“We have an amazing integration layer that enables us to remove the original physical monitors and systems in the machine, in order to place these at the site of the remote driver. This means that the driver can do the same operations from the remote driver seat as in the physical machine,” Tronsmoen said.

The technology was tested through thousands of hours of remote vehicle operation through pilot projects, which ensure the product is ready to handle tight deadlines and unknown factors.

“We can’t develop a product like this in the office. The team spends a lot of time in the field with the drivers of these vehicles in order to receive quick and honest feedback enabling us to continuously test, develop and improve the solution,” Steer CEO Ole Gjermundshaung said.

The release says the company is already seeing interest from a large Middle Eastern company, which is keen to capitalize on the efficiency and safety this technology can provide. The Steer team is gearing up to meet expected international demand.

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