Robokomatsu coming to America

GLOBAL equipment producer Komatsu has reportedly launched sales of its automated bulldozers in the US, the backyard of its largest competitor Caterpillar.
Robokomatsu coming to America Robokomatsu coming to America Robokomatsu coming to America Robokomatsu coming to America Robokomatsu coming to America

Courtesy Komatsu

Donna Schmidt

According to Bloomberg, Tokyo-based Komatsu president Tetsuji Ohashi said the company would sell up to 500 of its ITC-intensive (intelligent machine control) dozers – which would, at a future point, be driverless – in the US within three years.

Komatsu began selling the units in the US in June, and confirmed at the time it would phase out its standard operator-controlled models moving forward.

During an ITC dozer demonstration, Komatsu said it took just three hours to train an inexperienced worker to complete skilled tasks. Using a conventional model that training would have taken more than three years.

The bulldozer features a fully automatic blade control and can perform construction works from rough dozing to finished grading. It also can automatically control its blade based on construction drawing data via three-dimensional GPS information.

One analyst at Daiwi Securities said late last month that the Komatsu machines would attract US and European customers because of the high labor costs for vehicle operators.

“It’s important we offer customers products that overwhelmingly differentiate from others,” Hirokazu Miyagi told Bloomberg on June 26, noting customers would choose cheaper models when given a choice between similar products.

Komatsu America is a subsidiary of Komatsu. It serves mining as well as the forklift and forestry sectors and carries a large distributor network with a parts and service program to support its line.

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