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China builds highway with unmanned machines

28 July 2020

We like to bring you stories on tech advancements. Last week we covered the first large scale operational use of robotics in wood processing operations in New Zealand and Australia (which are being featured in next month’s WoodTECH 2020 on-line webinar series that we have set up for dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations.

This week, here’s one out of the box. Contractors in China are using a fleet of unmanned road pavers and rollers to build the Panzhihua-Dali Highway between Sichuan and Dali provinces. The machines are using GPS positioning systems, microwave communications, millimetre wave radar and other sensing equipment to find their way along.

Vehicles are coordinated remotely from a monitoring data centre, reports state news agency, Xinhua. Bridges and tunnels account for around 81% of the highway, which has high specifications for smoothness of pavement. The technology was developed by machinery manufacturer Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), Sichuan Railway Investment Group and Tsinghua University.

Researchers from the university developed the “brain” of the unmanned driving system. One of them, Liu Tianyun, told Xinhua that China’s Ministry of Transport issued a guideline in May to advance road building techniques with 5G communications, high precision positioning, and computing power.

The aim is to save on cost and increase productivity. China spent more than $225bn on road construction in the first 10 months of 2019. “With the help of 5G network’s ultrafast connectivity and low latency, we are expecting more unmanned intelligent construction sites in China,” Liu said.

Researchers said the machines can be guided with three-centimetre accuracy.

Image: Shanghai interchange

Source: globalconstructionreview

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