Chad Brown 29/9/2021HSEQ-360
The Very Autonomous Caterpillar
The Very Autonomous Caterpillar
Play on words to one side with Eric Carle’s iconic book, this year is seeing an offshore industry that is hungry for change. A sector that is embracing technology - and one aspect in particular, autonomous technology.
In our recent article, we looked at the use of bubble curtains to protect marine life.
Onshore, construction giants, like Caterpillar, are spouting wings
Firstly though, it’s worth, we think, taking a step back and considering why autonomy is such a positive step in the offshore energy industry, along with other civil engineering projects:
1. Greater efficiency
2. Reduced CO2 emissions
3. Improved comfort and safety for all stakeholders
Humans need not feel threatened by technological advances - they must design and manufacture the hardware and implement the software to drive autonomy.
Caterpillar are one of the leading lights in this advancement of technology.
They are creating, and selling, a “Command’ station, with on-board technology, that will allow for remote operation. Four cameras will be installed on medium-sized excavators from the 320 to the 340, but the hardware and software is expected to follow suit, later this year, with the D5 and D6 bulldozers.
This remote operation, according to Jason Ramshaw, global commercial manager for Cat Productivity – Automation & Autonomy, said the autonomy improved collaboration with teams working together in site offices and enhanced safety as there are no hazards as the operator is not physically in the cab.
“In 30 years, a robot will likely be on the cover of Time magazine as the best CEO. Machines will do what human beings are incapable of doing. Machines will partner and cooperate with humans, rather than become mankind’s biggest enemy.” Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.
We know from reading case studies that expensive plant can be adapted to form some sort of robotic autonomy but the key to unlocking success will be on the software side as Built Robotics, Gaurav Kikani, says:
“The critical element for taking the next big leap for construction is really going to be on the software side – that’s where the core technology behind automation exists.”
Autonomy to Kirani is where operators are no longer needed in a cab and can receive instructions by voice or text command remotely.
“Artificial Intelligence, deep learning, machine learning — whatever you’re doing if you don’t understand it — learn it. Because otherwise you’re going to be a dinosaur within 3 years.” Mark Cuban.
Automation is inevitable in offshore construction and is something to be welcomed. It has many advantages too in our industry.
Here’s a taster of why automation needs to be developed and adopted in the offshore industry.
We will leave the final words on automation to one of the most successful CEOs in history - Jeff Bezos.
“I predict that, because of artificial intelligence and its ability to automate certain tasks that in the past were impossible to automate, not only will we have a much wealthier civilization, but the quality of work will go up very significantly and a higher fraction of people will have callings and careers relative to today.” Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.