Construction equipment company Komatsu has partnered with dronemaker Skycatch to create self-driving construction vehicles that are assisted by drones that survey and map sites before the vehicles get to work. The images captured by the drone are then converted to a 3D map, and from that point on the site planner can give navigation instructions regarding the land. All the vehicles’ activity can easily be monitored and controlled by the manager.
The two companies have coined the term “Smart Construction” for the breakthrough, and this technology provides a feasible solution to Japan’s shortage problem with manual labor. Komatsu and Skycatch believe that their collaboration is all about what technology can do and what politics can’t – “create workers that population finds acceptable, substituting machines for humans.”