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Ericsson Proposes Connected Digger for Suez Canal Project

August 10, 2015

Ericsson has demonstrated a concept “Connected Digger” powered by WebRTC, according to Daily News Egypt.

The Connected Digger is an excavator that has been fitted with WebRTC and real-time video to allow it to be controlled remotely. The digger would be used for projects in the Suez Canal.

Ericsson intends for the experience of controlling the Connected Digger to be as good as or better than controlling it in the cabin of the excavator. It would certainly be more comfortable for the operator sitting in an air-conditioned room instead of dealing with hot desert temperatures.

Egypt started expanding the canal connecting the Mediterranean to the Red Sea in 2014, completing the project in July.

Ericsson demonstrated a model excavator using the technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year. The device uses a standard Ericsson smartphone fitted with a special 360-degree camera giving the operator a complete view. The video and audio streams from the device are compressed and sent back to the operator.

While similar technology has been used to control drones, remotely operated construction equipment could beat yet another sword into a plowshare. The safety and comfort of workers limits the kinds of construction projects that governments and businesses can undertake.

With technologies like those from Ericsson, it would be possible for crews to work longer and in more places, opening up possibilities for new projects in harsher environments.

Image via Shutterstock

The high-bandwidth, low-latency requirements for the Connected Digger project to work are ideal for 4G and 5G networks.  While these next-generation networks are only now becoming widespread, this is one application that construction firms could find as a “killer app” for advanced mobile technology.

It also shows how far mobile technologies have come in a short time. Since smartphones still get more powerful, they will assume more demanding tasks like real-time processing.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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