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Doosan Shows Autonomous Excavator, Wheel Loader

By Frank Raczon, Senior Editor | November 25, 2019
Doosan autonomous equipment working
The Doosan excavator on the left and the wheel loader on the right are being operated autonomously as part of the company's "Concept-X" solution.

Add Doosan to the growing list of OEMs developing or deploying autonomous equipment, as it demonstrated an autonomous crawler excavator and wheel loader at its new proving grounds in Boryeong City, South Korea.

Similar to Komatsu’s “Smart Construction” system, but adding an unmanned twist, Doosan’s “Concept-X” is touted as a comprehensive control solution that starts with 3D drone scan of a work area to develop operational plans based on the topographical data, and operate construction equipment such as excavators and wheel loaders without human intervention.

The control solution was shown to South Korean dignitaries, a select group of construction journalists, an American Doosan dealer (Synergy Equipment, from the Southeastern U.S.), and MasTec, a Florida-based oil and gas infrastructure contractor.

Concept-X involves a range of technologies such as image recognition, cognitive/control technologies, autonomous driving technologies, 5G remote control, 3D drone surveys, accurate workload estimation and assignment, and failure-prediction technologies.

Both production-sized pieces of autonomous equipment were powered by traditional diesel engines.

The new-to-Doosan technologies introduced during the demonstration included a technology designed to create 3D worksite maps with drone-surveyed data; a technology enabling construction equipment such as excavators and wheel loaders to perform unmanned operations according to any site situation; and, a technology that makes real-time monitoring of work progress possible through a job’s central control station.

Doosan asserts that the solution will boost productivity and economic feasibility significantly by reducing the time and costs required for construction equipment operations, as well as enhance safety.

It says it plans to commercialize Concept-X by 2025.

Prior to commercialization, Doosan intends to introduce each of the individual technologies on an individual basis, as soon as they have been fully verified.

Jeff Karter, COO of Synergy Equipment, was impressed. “I can definitely see applications for this technology and equipment,” he said. “I was waiting to see how close the [unmanned] wheel loader could get to the ADT to dump the load and it was perfect—it was right there without bumping.”

A drone that appeared ready for sale, accompanied by a brochure printed in Korean, was prominently displayed at the proving grounds.

“Concept X is not just an unmanned technology: Rather, it integrates multiple state-of-the-art technologies that can respond immediately to all and any of the changes that may arise at construction sites simultaneously,” said Doosan Infracore president & CEO Dongyoun Sohn. "It will become a human-centered technology that not only brings about remarkable improvements in economics, but also creates more jobs in high-tech industries.”

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