French anti-collision systems specialist SMIE has expanded on its remote and autonomous crane operation trials by using a 4G system to connect and operate a tower crane using its simulator training system located 300 km away.

The company installed its ProSite jobsite management software on the tower crane and, using a 4G connection, linked it to the simulator. This did not require any hardware modifications, explained SMIE, and could also work using 3G or direct WiFi systems.

SMIE said that the system achieved transfer rates of less than 100 milliseconds, which is well below the level required to remotely control a crane. In addition, it added a safety feature that puts the crane into safety mode if the margin were to go above 100 milliseconds.

SMIE stated it conducted the trial in response to customer feedback and wider industry interest in the possibilities of crane automation. It follows a self-driving crane trial SMIE carried out earlier in the year.

Nick Palfrey, chief marketing officer at SMIE, said, “For us, this is once again a conceptual exercise in how we as a technology provider can push the envelope. Whilst the technology works and is entirely useable, we are not presenting this as a solution we expect our customers to adopt today. In our view, this is part of a wider set of solutions that we are creating to make jobsites smarter.

“SMIE are not sitting on their laurels with the current state of the market. We may have invented anti-collision, but we must continue to innovate. The landscape is changing and SMIE are committed to leading the playing field once again.” https://youtu.be/oixTVL4P0iI

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SMIE’s training simulator being used to control a ProSite enabled tower crane 300 km away

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