We are familiar with the concept of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) as applied to robotics, often in a “coming in the future” format. But the future is coming sooner than expected if companies like Volvo have a say. And an enabler will be the growth of 5G communications.

The Volvo Construction Equipment division has demonstrated a fully autonomous, battery-electric prototype, the LX03, of what they claim is the first real-world example of a self-learning concept wheel loader with the brains to make decisions, perform tasks, and interact with humans. It is also the first time ever a LEGO Technic model has been turned into a real machine. While not commercially available, engineers expect that valuable insights from the LX03 will feed into applications for today and tomorrow.

Operators of construction equipment are required to know and understand the needs of the jobsite as well as the operation of the equipment. Skilled operators, especially since the pandemic, are becoming hard to find. Adding technology to the equipment can, in some cases, allow apprentice and novice operators to become proficient quicker and help solve the labor shortage.

Robots are not taking over the world. But robots can be a great aid to workers doing dangerous, labor-intensive, and tedious jobs. In mining and on the docks, while drivers work in shifts, trucks operate 24/7, stopping only for refueling as needed. And replacing a human with a robotic refueling system both speeds up the process and relieves employees of the dangerous job of “handling the hose.”

A study by Global Industry Analysts, Robotic Refueling Systems – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics, shows both the opportunities and challenges for robotic refueling in a significantly transformed post COVID-19 marketplace. During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for robotic refueling systems reached an estimated $36.2 million (in 2020) and is projected to reach $338.8 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 44.4%.

They are common in factories, warehouses, lumber yards, and on construction sites. They buzz or growl or smell like a kitchen gas stove. They are lifting loads and placing material workers shouldn’t try to do manually. They are forklift trucks and they are invaluable in today’s construction market.

While working with large, heavy equipment and material on a construction job, a forklift can act as the weight-carrier, providing safety and preventing employee injuries. Counterbalance forklift trucks are projected to hold a significant share of the market due to their ability to handle heavier loads than warehouse types. One result is the global forklift trucks market is predicted to surge ahead at a CAGR of 7.4% over the forecast period of 2021-2031, as per latest study estimates by Persistence Market Research.

Machines require data just like people do. The more data, the more accurate the machine in doing its job. For excavators, a precision control can save time and money by avoiding moving the wrong earth to the wrong spot.

CASE Construction Equipment has introduced the OEM-Fit 2D and 3D machine control solutions—designed by Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon — and now available for CASE D Series excavators. This new option ensures that the optimal combination of machine and solution is installed and tested by CASE certified precision field specialists. It also simplifies the acquisition process and allows for the technology to be grouped in the purchase of the machine — combining the financing or lease approval, rate, and payment in a single package.

The COVID-19 pandemic made commonplace many terms that were considered almost jargon within specific industries. Suddenly, everyone was talking about PPE, for example. Personal protective equipment from masks to gowns and “booties,” used by healthcare professionals in isolation wards and surgeries, become recognizable by everyone. The safety apparel used in hospitals was now being demanded by people staying at home.

Various governments implemented strict rules due to COVID-19 such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act by the U.S. Congress for protecting public health workers, establishing free testing, providing paid leaves, and important benefits to children and families, in 2020 to curb the spread. Increasing domestic production coupled with restraints on the product imports and exports surged the PPE demand in 2020.

They are known by many names: AWP (aerial work platform), aerial device, EWP (elevating work platform), bucket truck, or MEWP (mobile elevating work platform). Perhaps the most common term, however, is cherry picker. These are mechanical devices used to provide temporary access for people or equipment to inaccessible areas, usually at height. They usually have a boom and basket arrangement to bring people and material to high work areas such as the hub of a wind turbine.

The AWP truck is witnessing a high demand due to the increase in new construction. Aerial lifts, especially boom lifts, are widely used for constructing high-rise buildings. The AWP truck market is expected to grow between 2021-2025 due to the transition of the relocation from rural to urban areas which will require high investments for developing new housing and public infrastructure.

The jobsite is cluttered with equipment during a build. Tools, hand and power, are everywhere. Cables, hoses, pipes, and tiedowns litter the site. Then the question can be heard, “Where’s my…?” Finding the missing tool can be a challenge or a minor annoyance depending on how you handle inventory and tracking.

DEWALT offers one answer. The Tool Connect System is designed to seamlessly track, assign, and manage jobsite inventory to optimize productivity, saving time and budget. The Tool Connect Chip (DCE042), a Bluetooth beacon add-on, that allows tools to easily and wirelessly work with the Tool Connect System adds tracking capabilities that are compatible with Tool Connect Site Manager software, available for web and mobile, that adds, manages, and tracks inventory for jobsite visibility.

The current shortage of computer chips has caused significant delays in many products, especially vehicles. Today’s cars and truck depend on chips for many functions right from the factory and add-on technology is a growing market, increasing the use of chips.

The growing adoption of AI (artificial intelligence) technology in vehicle telematics to improve fleet efficiency is also driving the growth of fleet management. AI enables the use of present and historical data to do predictive analytics, minimizing potential risks. AI-based fleet analytics helps fleet operators to gain insights into real-time fleet operations. Operators leverage IoT, machine learning systems, displays, and communication systems to integrate sophisticated fleet management systems with AI.

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