Cat Command a step closer
By Mike Hayes01 December 2020
At its recent virtual conference, broadcast from Malaga, Spain, Cat announced that its Cat Command remote-control stations will be available for purchase by construction contractors in Europe from the first quarter of 2021.
Initially available on medium excavators, from the 320 up to the 340, the technology is also expected to be available for smaller bulldozers – the D5 and D6 – by the third or fourth quarter.
Jason Ramshaw, global commercial manager for Cat Productivity – Automation & Autonomy, said the latest version of the Command solution has the potential to give operators total almost-real-time control of their machines from anywhere in the world.
He said for employers to be able to remove their operators from potentially dangerous on-site situations was a game-changing scenario and a first step on the road to autonomy in construction.
Ramshaw added that the screen quality on the latest Command stations, combined with the on-board technology – including a four-camera set-up on the machine itself – meant a remote operator could potentially enjoy a better view of the machine’s surroundings than if they were in the cab itself.
Customers who have been partnering with Cat to test the Command system have praised its safety benefits, but Ramshaw also described the technology’s potential return on investment, due to factors such as reducing downtime during shift changes, no requirement to withdraw the machine from the work area for the operator to safely disembark (wearing out tracks in the process), and the ability for operators who might not be able to access the site itself to operate machines.
One customer overview, broadcast during the conference, showed the US-based civil contractor Saiia, using a number of Cat Command stations in an ash field in the country’s south-east.
The company said having a number of operators sitting together in a comfortable office trailer environment not only promoted safety but also eased operator stress, aided instruction and had led to the sharing of tips and experiences among the team.