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Leica Parent Hexagon Holds Digital Solutions Conference, Adds Tech Products

By Frank Raczon, Senior Editor | June 14, 2019
Swedish tech company Hexagon hosted 3,000 of its customers and partners from around the world in a Las Vegas event billed as “HxGN Live,” a showcase for its multi-industry technology that included 500 educational sessions, hands-on training, nine different keynotes, and a couple of noteworthy high-tech products for construction and mining applications.

Swedish tech company Hexagon hosted 3,000 of its customers and partners from around the world in a Las Vegas event billed as “HxGN Live,” a showcase for its multi-industry technology that included 500 educational sessions, hands-on training, nine different keynotes, and a couple of noteworthy high-tech products for construction and mining applications.

The first keynote, titled “Your Data Can Save the World” sounded an ominous tone, with Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén offering a detailed view of a 2050 doomsday for Earth if items such as carbon emissions, plastics in the ocean, and over-fishing are not addressed.

He shared an analysis of technologies available today that can cut CO2 emissions by 33 percent by leveraging data to be more efficient in the automotive, agriculture, general industry, and building sectors alone. The best incentive for businesses in these sectors to participate, Rollen said, is to prove to them that there are profits in doing so.

“If you want to drive change, money must be on the table,” Rollen said. “There is no conflict between making money and saving the planet. We will prove you’ll make money buying technology from us.”

Rollen pointed out that the majority of the world’s top carbon emitters are companies—not nations—and said the goal for companies should be using technology to achieve “scalable sustainability,” reducing the world’s emissions by portions over time, in effect buying more time for cleaner energy sources to take hold and further efficiencies to be discovered.

Technologies previewed at the event included the company’s autonomous vehicle technology; it recently bought a firm called AutonomouStuff. Rollen said he envisions Hexagon as “the IT guy” for autonomous vehicles. “When autonomous vehicles are deployed on the road, on a job site or farm, or in a facility, they will need experts who know how to fix them and make them better, and we intend to lead in that area,” he said.

Hexagon’s Leica introduced its DSX product (above), a portable ground-penetrating radar (GPR) solution for underground utility detection. Designed to simplify data capture and automate data processing, the DSX allows users to detect, map, and visualize underground utilities with high accuracy.

“We designed the Leica DSX for users with limited GPR knowledge who need to locate, avoid, or map underground utilities in a simple, fast and reliable way,” said Rollén “With this utility detection solution, Hexagon brings GPR technology to new user segments to enable safer operations in any job requiring digging.”

DSX uses intuitive DXplore software, which translates correlated signals into user-friendly results. Unlike other GPR solutions, Hexagon said, users do not need to have expertise interpreting raw radar data and hyperbolas. DXplore uses a smart algorithm to generate digital utility maps within minutes, displaying detected results while users are still in the field. The map can also be exported to Leica DX Manager Mapping, Leica ConX, or other post-processing software for further use in machines, or to overlay with additional data.

“We’re democratizing GPR technology so contractors can use it themselves,” said Agata Fischer, Leica’s business director for detection services and construction tools. “It will also store the mapped data, in the event a contractor has to return at a later time.”

Hexagon Live also saw the debut of HxGN MineProtect Operator Alertness System Light Vehicle (OAS-LV), a fatigue and distraction detection unit that continuously monitors operator alertness inside the cab of light vehicles and semi-trucks.

OAS-LV expands Hexagon’s portfolio for operator safety solutions, filling a gap to protect light-vehicle operators from falling asleep at the wheel, crashing, or other fatigue or distraction-related incidents. The product is based on technology used in HxGN MineProtect Operator Alertness System Heavy Vehicle, which protects operators of haul trucks.

“Operator fatigue and distraction are recurring hazards in mining and other industries,” said Rollén,

The solution’s in-cab device is easy to install and scans the operator’s face to detect any sign of fatigue or distraction, such as a microsleep. A machine-learning algorithm leverages this facial-feature analysis data to-determine whether or not an alert should be triggered. OAS-LV works in both light and dark conditions, and through prescription glasses and/or sunglasses.

The in-cab hardware is always connected, and data from the vehicle may be transmitted to the cloud or an on-site monitoring center. This enables real-time notifications for supervisors and controllers to apply intervention protocol and allow for further forensic analytics, Hexagon said.

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