[VIDEO] Komatsu Boosts Earthmoving Efficiency with Automated Machines and Drone Surveying

SmartConstruction service for contractors uses quad copters to reduce surveying error up to 30% and deploys semi-automated dozers and excavators to hit grade targets fast

A Komatsu Rental service currently only available in Japan deploys Skycatch unmanned aerial vehicles to reduce surveying error by 20% to 30% and deploys semi-automated dozers and excavators to hit grade targets quickly.

Komatsu says the key to SmartConstruction is visual intelligence combined with site data and made available to all on KomConnect, the equipment maker's new cloud platform.

"Information communication technology will organically connect all people, machines and soil, related to the conditions of construction job sites, dramatically improving productivity on the job sites and achieving safe and smart 'job sites of the future,'" according to Komatsu's description of SmartConstruction.

SmartConstruction service will take place in six steps: 

1) High-precision survey of job sites. Komatsu will create a 3D map of job site conditions quickly mainly using an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) or drone, 3-D laser scanner, and stereo camera installed on the operator seat of construction equipment. 

2) Create 3-D completion drawing. Komatsu will convert its customers' 2-D completion drawings of construction projects into 3-D drawings. By visualizing the difference between 3-D data of the job site and 3-D completion drawings, customers more quickly and accurately understand the area, shape and volume of earth to be moved prior to construction. 

3) Research and analysis of variable factors. Prior to construction, Komatsu researches and analyzes factors such as soil classification and buried objects. 

4) Development of construction plans. Customers can input construction conditions in KomConnect, and the construction plan simulation function will propose different approaches for dealing with each condition. When work begins, progress is tracked automatically and shown on the construction plan simulation. 

5) Advanced artificial-intelligence-driven construction. The 3-D data from the completion drawing are transmitted to intelligent machines (Komatsu D61i-23, D51i-22, D37i-23 and D39i-23 dozers and PC210LCi-10 excavators) via KomConnect. Intelligent Machine Control equipment automatically controls its blades or buckets, improving the speed and precision of less-experienced operators' work. 

6) Use of construction data after completion of construction. All as-built data from earthmovers with intelligent Machine Control are stored in KomConnect to be used in quality control and maintenance of the completed project.