What Does Road
Building of the
Future Look Like?
A grader scrapes at the granular surface of what will
soon be a new roadway. In the cab, an operator watches
a screen, checking the grade and material compaction. He doesn’t
bother to get out of the cab. Doesn’t have to. The machine uses satellite
network data and sensors to assess the work.
Nearby, an excavator is clawing at the ground. In the distance,
an operator is directing the operation via remote control. In another
area, a construction worker wearing a powered exoskeleton suit,
which increases strength and endurance, is moving heavy rocks and
debris out of the way.
Welcome to the road building site of the future.
Machine-control systems, autonomous vehicles, robots, augmented
and virtual reality and drones will be the new norm down
the road, according to representatives of firms that provide construction
technology solutions and machine control systems to
road building and other industries.
“Technology is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Jamal
Mohammed, director of sales and professional services at SITECH
Mid-Canada, which offers a variety of specialized technology, software
and machine-control systems to the construction sector. “It’s
taken some time, but machine-control and guidance technology are
now becoming the new norm along with GPS positioning.”
Machine-control systems use GPS and sensors to determine
geographic co-ordinates. Functions of the equipment can also
be automated and link to online networks to share information
The systems were initially installed on graders, but it’s now becoming
more common to see them used on other construction
equipment like bulldozers, excavators and rollers. It’s estimated
that 10 per cent of earthmoving equipment in use in Canada has
machine control and it’s expected to go up.
Machine control, mechanical
autonomous vehicles and more
By Grant Cameron, Journal of Commerce
26 Think BIG | Quarter 4 2019 | saskheavy.ca