The list of cars with “self-driving” features just keeps getting longer. Tesla’s probably the first to jump to mind, but automakers from BMW to Ford to Volkswagen have introduced autonomous capabilities. Even if your vehicle can’t yet drive itself, it probably boasts at least a few driver-assistance functions: adaptive cruise control, lane centering, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, parking assist — the list goes on and on. They’re all designed to make driving safer, easier and more fuel efficient.
Sound like what you need in your heavy equipment? You’re in luck. Like today’s passenger vehicles, modern machines feature a host of assist features that help operators dig, doze and grade more quickly, safely and efficiently. Here’s a look at just a few examples you’ll find on different types of machines:
- Auto blade assist lets you preset the percentages of your blade’s pitch positions. You steer the dozer and it does the rest — making your load/carry/spread cycles more efficient.
- Auto carry provides automatic blade height control, so you can carry and keep as much material as you need. It also helps reduce fatigue.
- Slope assist maintains blade angles — great for tasks like building pads, spreading truck dumps and building embankments. Use it to get work done faster with less effort.
- Grade assist adds semi-autonomous movement to the boom and bucket. It lets you dig with a single lever — reducing manual input, errors and fatigue so you can grade more consistently.
- Lift assist keeps the excavator firmly grounded when lifting heavy loads. It’s a great tool for site safety, especially if you frequently pick and place objects like pipes, manholes and trench boxes.
- Swing assist automatically stops the excavator at defined points — ideal for repetitive truck loading and trenching applications. It helps reduce fuel consumption and improve cycle times.
- Auto articulation combines steering and articulation into a single movement of the joystick — making it easy to maneuver comfortably and precisely, even in tight quarters.
- Grade assist automates the cross slope of the blade, so you can do more work in the same amount of time. It can also help lower fuel consumption and material usage.
- Stable blade detects and corrects blade bounce automatically — no intervention required. It can save you time, fuel and rework plus wear and tear on machine components.
Assist features like these — and there are plenty more — make a lot of sense if you’re trying to bring new or less experienced operators up to speed quickly on the job. But they’re also great tools for your seasoned pros as well. Everyone benefits from a helping hand that makes the work faster, safer and more accurate. Your bottom line will, too.