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Is A Remote Control Bobcat The Future Of Construction?

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Is A Remote Control Bobcat The Future Of Construction?

The future often sneaks up on the present, and given the fascinating technology-driven future of Bobcat diggers showcased through the RogueX and RogueX2, it is fascinating to see aspects of this vision already being showcased.

One of the biggest features of both of Bobcat’s concept machines is the lack of a cab in favour of either remote or autonomous operation. Whilst in an early research and development phase, remotely operated Bobcats are already being used on major infrastructure projects.

The most notable example of this is how a modified remote-operated Bobcat is being used as part of the Stockholm Bypass, a vast series of underground road tunnels that will, once completed, be the third largest of their kind following similar projects in Sydney and Tokyo.

Because of the uniquely difficult conditions caused by working underground in the mining region of Kiruna and consequently a range of additional safety regulations attached to any project based there, a heavily modified version of Bobcat’s compact E88 was used that did not require an operator inside the machine.

Instead, it used a remote control system with onboard cameras that allowed it to be controlled far away from any of the hazards. It also featured a tiltrotator, a rock scaling attachment and dust-control systems to handle the particularly treacherous underground conditions.

To keep it operational, it also featured a stronger bucket, explosion-proof windows, high-spec lubrication and an automatic fire extinguisher.

All of these traits alongside the E88’s stability, speed and exceptional digging output for its size made it a remarkably productive and necessary part of the Stockholm Bypass project.

Because of this, the inevitable next question is whether this will have an effect on the timescales for the implementation of the RogueX’s groundbreaking features and whether Bobcat will introduce an in-house radio-control system earlier than was perhaps expected.

In either case, cab-less Bobcat machinery becoming a critical part of major infrastructure projects has become a matter of when rather than if.