Steer Remote will be offered to the public in early 2019. This turnkey product enables any piece of heavy equipment to be operated remotely. The Steer remote product is usually used in hazardous working environments like; explosives, radioactivity, avalanches, mudslides, etc. Operators are located up to 10 kilometers away from the machines they are running.
Steer believes fully autonomous construction equipment through other manufacturers will be offered to the public in 5+ years. This in spite of the efforts through big companies such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi and others are making in the field.
Our approach to autonomous construction equipment is to start simple and build the system gradually more complex. Working this way, we have full control and can progressively improve upon the system. Our trusted partner Gjermundshaug, use the products Steer build. This gives us invaluable experience and insight into the area.
In 2010 we worked on two Caterpillar 730 articulated dump trucks and fitted them with a semi-autonomous remote-control system. The dump trucks were manually loaded by a remote-controlled excavator, then drove approx. 7 kilometers on their own using high precision GPS before an operator manually took over and dumped the load. Over 30.000 cubic meters of dirt containing explosives were transported this way 24/7 for 3 months. It turned out the semi-autonomous dump trucks far outperformed a human operator (via remote control) when driving the 7 kilometers.
In 2019/2020 we plan to release the Steer Semi-Autonomous product to the public. The system will build upon the Steer Remote Control product - while adding hardware components such as GPS, Radar and Lidar in order to have proper obstacle detection. The system can be used in closed areas such as open pit mines, military cleanup operations and large construction sites.