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Caterpillar takes command with Cat Command suite

March 8, 2021  - By
Caterpillar’s Cat Command system enables operators, including disabled veterans, to control machines in dangerous environments from the safety of a remote command center. (Photo: Caterpillar)

Caterpillar’s Cat Command system enables operators, including disabled veterans, to control machines in dangerous environments from the safety of a remote command center. (Photo: Caterpillar)

Caterpillar, the world’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment, has invested in the development of autonomous vehicles for more than 30 years and has the world’s largest autonomous fleet of haul trucks.

Its Cat Command suite of remote and semi-autonomous products for the construction industry helps increase safety, machine utilization and productivity for hauling, loading, excavating, drilling and dozing operations. They include onboard electronic and vision systems that allow machines to be controlled without anyone in the cab.

Options include

  • The line-of-sight Cat Command Console, which is supported by a shoulder harness
  • The Cat Command Station, which can be located onsite, for line-of-sight operation, or offsite
  • The semi-autonomous Cat Command for Compaction technology, which automates soil compaction to help deliver consistent results.

Over time, the company expects most of its machines to become compatible with its Cat Command technology.

Here are a few examples of how construction companies are using Caterpillar technology:

Cargo Barges. Associated Terminals, which transloads dry bulk and general cargo in the Port of South Louisiana, uses Cat Command to remotely control its small wheel loaders and excavators, keeping its personnel off the barges.

“It gives me a lot of peace of mind knowing that when we are doing our jobs, digging in these cargo holds in the vessels, my friend and co-worker is not operating the machine in the hold,” said Thomas Ramagos, a production manager for the company.

Fleet Management. Beverly Companies is a landscaping, snow removal and topsoil contractor in Chicago that owns equipment ranging from bulldozers to lawnmowers. The company uses my.cat.com and other Caterpillar fleet-management tools to track all its equipment in one place, help reduce machine downtime, manage repairs and maintenance, and order parts.

Civil Contracting. Saiia Construction Company, a civil contractor in Birmingham, Alabama, uses Cat Command to increase the safety of its employees, said Frank Montgomery, the company’s president. The material with which it deals is sometimes unpredictable, and rain events can change conditions significantly, explained Superintendent Clint Kennedy.

A remotely controlled front loader operates inside a barge. (Photo: Caterpillar)

A remotely controlled front loader operates inside a barge. (Photo: Caterpillar)

Cat Command enables employees to work from an office trailer, rather than having to trudge through mud and muck to get to a piece of equipment. The controls in the seat are almost identical to the ones in the cab, Kennedy pointed out. Another employee can stand behind the chair and coach the operator.

High-quality cameras on site enable the operator to view the whole job site, while four on the machine enable the operator to distinguish brown dirt from red dirt and rocks from sand.

Caterpillar machines also collect massive amounts of data and transmit them over the air to the company, where they are analyzed and used in business applications.

Customers can access these data via my.cat.com and a mobile app to better understand and manage their vehicle fleets and operations, reduce fuel consumption, and improve productivity and safety. They can also access equipment locations, engine hours, parts and service records, and inspection reports.

According to Caterpillar, it had one million connected assets at the end of 2019, almost twice as many as three years earlier, and almost all its new construction machines are equipped with these connectivity systems. The Cat Productivity web-based suite of solutions works with Caterpillar machines of any age and brand. Of course, newer machines will provide richer data and more accurate results.

About the Author:


Matteo Luccio possesses 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at mluccio@gpsworld.com or 541-543-0525.

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