Komatsu actively studies the realization of complete impersonal engineering machinery
Komatsu, a Japanese maker of construction machinery, will develop entirely impersonal engineering machinery to drive and operate. At present, there are some construction machines in the market that can carry out land consolidation and excavation through automatic control, but the basic operations such as driving in the engineering site still need to be completed by human. Komatsu will invest in the development of ZMP, a start-up such as self-driving cars and robots, to absorb technology and promote the practical application of a new generation of engineering machinery.
As a startup, ZMP has advantages in image recognition and sensor technology, and is working with Nagoya university to launch road tests and other technologies to promote the development of self-driving cars. Mr Komatsu's contribution to ZMP is thought to be in the hundreds of millions of yen, less than 5 per cent. Komatsu will work with ZMP on autonomous driving of engineering machinery and mining machinery, as well as research and development of unmanned technology. Combined with the long experience of engineering machinery control accumulated by komatsu, the development of unmanned and operated engineering machinery is realized.
Komatsu has been aggressively using global positioning system (GPS) and sensors to develop machines that can operate autonomously and automatically. In 2008, komatsu developed an unmanned system for super-large dump trucks that operate efficiently on fixed routes in mines. From 2013 to 2014, bulldozers and excavators, which require drivers, have been launched and automated, such as bulldozers and excavators, have been implemented. Even novice operators can complete complex tasks.
Compared with mine, there are many changing factors, such as complicated running route. If the development cost of unmanned construction machinery is huge and the price is high, it will be difficult to reduce the cost in the construction project. So far, only operational automation has been achieved.
Komatsu's unpiloted dump trucks and automated construction machines are controlled using GPS location information. ZMP, on the other hand, has advantages in technology that does not rely on GPS and USES cameras and sensors to master the surrounding environment. The two sides will enhance product strength through cooperation.
In addition to automated building machinery, komatsu has also launched a new service since February that USES IT technologies such as unmanned helicopters and cloud computing to improve the efficiency and safety of on-site construction projects. Komatsu's research and development is due to the increasing demand for reconstruction and upgrading of aging infrastructure in Japan's disaster-stricken areas after the earthquake in east Japan. On the other hand, due to the aging of young children and other reasons, the labor shortage is becoming more and more serious.
In the future, Japan's production age population is still expected to decrease, so it plans to develop unmanned engineering machinery that can improve the efficiency of field work.