Hitachi Develops the ZCORE Platform for the Autonomous Construction Equipment

Hitachi Construction Machinery announced in August that the company has developed a system platform “ZCORE,” 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 an “information processing platform,” which collects data from various sensors and communication networks, and a “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 men and equipment will be working together in a cooperative manner. They 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.

Conceptual diagram of ZCORE. Courtesy of Hitachi Global.

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 the 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 that 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 communalized so that general-purpose sensors can be used and functions are easily added or customized according to each customer’s needs.
Evolution and Future Vision of Automation and Autonomous Technologies. Courtesy of Hitachi Global.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Group has striven to make the relationship between man and working at construction sites more comfortable, more advanced, and more efficient by advancing equipment. They will continue to contribute to the safety and productivity which customers seek through the development of autonomous construction equipment by utilizing accumulated hydraulic technology and the latest information-processing technology.

Source: Hitachi Global'
AUS HeavyQuip Journal Newsroom
AHQJ is the digital magazine focused on Construction, Earthmoving, Lifting, Mining, Heavy-duty Farm equipment for Australian Market