Mobile-equipment and controls manufacturers Ammann, Palfinger, Prinoth, Rosenbauer and TTControl, a unit of Hydac International, today announced their collaboration on application-oriented systems as part of the new Autonomous Operation Cluster (AOC).
The multinational companies will jointly develop key technologies for autonomous operation elements for series production of mobile machinery functions and off-highway vehicles. The aim is to accelerate the development of advanced assistance functions through collaboration to ease operators’ jobs and increase productivity, efficiency and safety in a wide range of industries around the globe.
The AOC will address trends such as smart and autonomous operation of road construction equipment and specialized off-highway applications such as cranes, fire-fighting equipment and snow groomers. In these sectors, computer vision- and artificial intelligence-based solutions will enable precise detection of objects and processing of information from the surrounding environment. The resulting automated machine functions will support the operator, for example, by warning them of potentially dangerous situations and acting autonomously within clearly defined limits. Machine operators will be able to perform tasks more intuitively, quickly and safely.
According to AOC officials, the most important benefit of the cross-industry collaboration is the reduced development time by knowledge sharing. The partner companies contribute with decades of expertise from their fields to bring cutting-edge solutions to production. Industry-specific technological challenges are addressed by a dedicated developer community consisting of experts from all partners. As an enabler for autonomous operation functions, the AOC will focus on three development areas: robust hardware platforms, modular software components and customized application functions.
“Together, we will lay the foundation for the next generation of automation and autonomy capabilities in the mobile machinery and off-highway industries,” said Roberto Ferrari, senior vice president Service & Operations at TTControl. “TTControl will support this groundbreaking endeavor with its advanced knowledge of electronic architectures and expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. With the synergies from this collaboration, we will develop essential building blocks for autonomous vehicles and mobile machinery that will significantly improve the productivity and safety of future off-highway solutions.”
“This technology will bring incredible value to the roadbuilding process,” added Tomas Kopic, executive vice president of Ammann’s Heavy Equipment Division. “There will be improvements in quality, and jobsites will be safer, too. The efficiency gains provided by the technology will improve sustainability – and the profitability of our customers.”
This year, AOC partners will define technological solutions and develop a proof-of-concept and initial prototypes. Further application implementation based on specific use cases will continue in 2023.