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Constructicons, transform phase one!

Caterpillar Inc., known for making a large range of construction, agricultural, and forestry equipment, is looking into the future of the industry. Mark Pflederer is the chief technology officer at Caterpillar and believes that the future lies in remote controlled, or even automated, driver-less machines equipped with on-board computers and GPS.

"Ten or 15 years down the road," Pflederer said in a Reuters story, "it's not too much of a stretch to think that we could run multiple bulldozers, wheel loaders or trucks on a site and move the operators to a remote location." 

Currently, Caterpillar designs its machines using a virtual reality lab "how every single component of the machine interacts with every other component in the machine as it's moving," which is a technique used by auto-makers. Other high-tech investments include the company’s research into creating the world's first hydrogen fuel cell-powered underground mining truck, which is project to be operating in a mine by next summer.

The real future, as Caterpillar would have it, is still in automation. Analysts point to the changing face of the labor force, specifically the retirement of the baby boomer generation, as reasons to why such a development would be important.

"Maybe it's just remote control. Maybe it's completely autonomous," he says. "Automation is our long-term dream."





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