This large, bug-like machine is industrial designer Jon Pope’s imagining of what a large mining dozer from the year 2043 might look like. It’s fully autonomous and powered by batteries. It features regenerative charging technology, innovative hydraulics and a new kind of cooling system, described in more detail opposite.
“If I had a time machine and set it to 25 years from now, I predict I’d be more surprised by what has not changed than what has changed,” Pope tells iVT. “All new equipment will most likely be powered by batteries or fuel cells. But diesel power will probably still be in use by small contractors using older equipment. So hydraulics will still also be part of the aging diesel fleet. They might still even be used on some new machines.
“I also predict vehicle operators will still be required. Autonomous machines will most likely be a big part of the industry, but maybe not all of it. It depends if the cost comes down enough for low-production-volume machines like off-highway heavy equipment. Another stumbling block to full autonomy could be heavy litigation burdens on OEMs, when property damage or personal injury occurs due to systems failures.”
One industry Pope predicts is likely to be fully autonomous in 25 years’ time, at least in North America, is mining, hence his design for this dozer.
“Most sites are remote and closed off to the general public,” says Pope. “So when (not if) a piece of autonomous equipment gets loose, there is less chance of serious injuries or damage to property occurring.”