Teleoperated and Automated Maintenance Equipment Robotics (Phase I)Author/Presenter: Sun, Sonja; Mehlschau, Jim; Smith, Nelson; Kruetzfeldt, Keith; Chen, Paul; Frank, Andrew; Chang, Tsusuan
In an attempt to eliminate the operator’s exposure to the hazards associated with highway maintenance, University of California at Davis in conjunction with FMC under a grant from California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has developed a teleoperation system (remote control package) for a front-end loader. The radio remote control system developed enables the front-end loader to be operated remotely by current CalTrans workers performing a full range of functions at a distance up to 300 ft (91 meters). Operating modes can be easily shifted from remote mode to on-board mode or vice versa. The system has proven to be reliable, durable, safe, and sufficiently easy to operate. The performance of the remotely operated loader is equivalent or better than that of the conventional on-board manually operated machine.
The feasibility of teleoperating an unmanned highway maintenance equipment has been well demonstrated. It is concluded that the remote control package is ready for commercialization and can be easily adapted to general purpose heavy equipment and other mobile machinery.
Recommendations for further study include the integration of telepresence technology and other feedback systems into the remote control package along with capability for teachable automatic functions to enhance productivity of the front-end loader for both remote and on-board operation. Study of human factors related to teleoperation of a highway maintenance vehicle equipped with feedback systems is also desired.