Development of a System Platform “ZCORE” for Autonomous Construction Equipment
Tokyo, Japan August 19, 2020 —-Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (TSE: 6305; “Hitachi Construction Machinery”) announced in August that the company has developed a system platform “ZCORE [ˈziːkɔːr],” which facilitates the development of autonomous construction equipment and enhances its functionality. This is part of Hitachi Construction Machinery’s effort to increase safety and productivity at future construction sites in line with the company vision of man and equipment working together in a cooperative manner.
ZCORE enables the equipment to “recognize, judge and execute,” which operators conventionally do at construction sites. ZCORE consists of “information processing platform,” which collects data from various sensors and communication networks, and “machine control platform,” which controls hydraulic components and power-train components. It is a system platform, which allows for flexible expansion of functionality. With the use of ZCORE, Hitachi Construction Machinery is now able to develop autonomous equipment more quickly and adapt or add functions according to various customer needs.
In the future, the company plans to utilize ZCORE on autonomous hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders and rigid dump trucks.
In the construction industry, the challenge is to increase productivity with less manpower given the decreasing production workers and aging skilled workers. Although great expectations are placed on the development of autonomous construction equipment as a solution, it is important to ensure the safety of people working around such equipment.
Hitachi Construction Machinery envisions future construction sites where man and equipment will be working together in a cooperative manner. We aim for the realization of “Cooperative Safety” at construction sites where safety and productivity are enhanced through information exchanges between man and equipment, equipment and equipment, and equipment and the surrounding environment. To make this a reality, “cooperative construction equipment,” which autonomously operate in a cooperative manner with people, is required. ZCORE is a system platform by which both cooperative safety and advanced autonomous operation are realized.
Main features of ZCORE
- Realization of both cooperative safety and advanced autonomous operation
With the conventional construction equipment, operators “recognize” and “make judgments” on site conditions, and “execute” actual work while giving consideration to safety. With ZCORE, the equipment system can “recognize, make judgment and execute” by utilizing information provided by sensors and information networks. That’s how the equipment with ZCORE attain cooperative safety and advanced autonomous operation.
- Easy addition and customization of functions
Various sensors which monitor surrounding and machine conditions can be easily added. The equipment system recognizes and makes judgments based on information provided by sensors and communication networks to control hydraulic and power-train components. Interfaces are commonalized so that general-purpose sensors can be used and functions are easily added or customized according to each customer’s needs.
- We will release a series of demonstration videos of the prototype excavator with ZCORE on our website.
- 16 Jul. 2020 News Release
- 19 Jun. 2019
- ZCORE has been filed for trademark registration by Hitachi Construction Machinery.
Information contained in this news release is current as of the date of the press announcement, but may be subject to change without prior notice.