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Fraunhofer IOSB and ZECH Umwelt test autonomous excavator in a quarry

In a joint measurement campaign, the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB and ZECH Umwelt tested the ALICE autonomous excavator developed at the ROBDEKON competence center in a quarry. The challenging environment with its different properties of the soil and excavated material provided an ideal setting for testing the autonomous excavator. This allowed valuable findings to be gathered in order to evaluate the system's robustness in real operating conditions.

The tests of the ROBDEKON technologies carried out in the quarry near Exdorf impressively demonstrated that autonomous excavators can master complex tasks under real conditions: The construction machine, equipped with various sensors, modular autonomy software and an intelligent control system, navigated autonomously, avoided dynamic obstacles and carried out the work processes with precision. The autonomous feeding of a crusher by the Fraunhofer IOSB excavator is particularly noteworthy.

Autonomous excavator digs in the quarry. © Fraunhofer IOSB

"The cooperation between Fraunhofer IOSB and ZECH Umwelt is an excellent example of how research and industry can work together to drive innovation," explained Daniel Blum, Head of Technical Services at ZECH Umwelt. "The collaboration with the experts from ZECH Umwelt and our research team in this pilot project was extremely constructive and targeted. ZECH's openness and commitment contributed significantly to the success of these tests," emphasized Dr. Janko Petereit. Extensive sensor data was recorded during the tests, which will be incorporated into the GOOSE dataset. "GOOSE" (German outdoor and offroad dataset) is an initiative that aims to make real data from unstructured outdoor areas freely accessible to the scientific community and industry partners, for example to train artificial intelligence. The successful tests of the autonomous excavator mark an important step towards the implementation of autonomous technologies in the construction and mining industry, with the aim of making work processes safer and more efficient. Fraunhofer IOSB will continue to develop and refine these technologies as part of ROBDEKON.

Autonomous excavator ALICE feeds a stone crusher in the quarry. © Fraunhofer IOSB

ROBDEKON invites other players in the industry to participate in this innovation movement. Feel free to contact us at info@robdekon.de!