Shantui, a Chinese manufacturer of construction equipment, along with researchers from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), has reportedly developed the world’s first unmanned bulldozer.
Over the past three years, the team has completed more than 100 tests on the machine, which can follow operating instructions and work autonomously with no remote operation, according to IOT World Today.
Branded under the project name DH17C2U, Shantui’s fully autonomous dozer was developed at HUST’s National Digital Construction Technology Innovation Center in Wuhan. Autonomous operation is made possible via a high-powered computing system, precision positioning system and 5G communication.
As reported online by IOT World Today, the machine can push and level material, including in extreme temperatures as low as -10 degrees. More testing is set to take place later this year in mining and infrastructure construction scenarios.
Shantui plans to bring the machine to market once the technology matures, according to IOT World Today. The company says the deployment of autonomous machines on jobsites will deliver numerous safety benefits and labor savings.
Depending on what your definition of autonomy is, Shantui is not the first manufacturer to step into the autonomous bulldozer arena.
Liebherr unveiled a concept cab-less dozer at the 2019 Bauma trade show. Unlike Shantui’s model, the 7XX requires an operator working in a remote-control station.
In 2020, Built Robotics released an aftermarket kit to convert any manufacturer’s bulldozer to a fully autonomous machine. Built Robotics says its Exosystem-equipped dozers can handle finish grading, spreading and pushing material, ripping and track walking.