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CONEXPO: Volvo debuts GaiaX 2030 excavator concept.

Volvo Construction Equipment has unveiled its vision of what excavators will look like in approximately 15 years' time.

The Swedish manufacturer unveiled the GaiaX concept machine at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 . The electric compact excavator, which Volvo predicts will be operational by 2030, boasts a futuristic, lightweight design, and technology that would allow the machine to be operated remotely via an augmented reality key controller.

"The idea is to simplify the excavator down to its core components," said Marcus Ulmefors, tech lead at Volvo CE. "You can see that we have engineered a lot more space. We have removed the side plates from the boom and the arm so the unit is much lighter. This is a very sophisticated machine. It has four tracks rather than two, and it features a number of natural materials. For example, the guard rails are coated in leather, and the chair is made from wood."

As the GaiaX has been designed as a fully electric excavator, Ulmefors and his colleagues had to include a sizeable battery to power the unit. Rather than viewing this as a problem, the team took full advantage of this weighty component by including it as a counterweight at the rear of the machine.

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"This means that we don't need any concrete or steel to weigh down the excavator," Ulmefors told ConstructionWeekOnline.com . "We solved two problems in one."

In addition to its futuristic design, the GaiaX features technology that allows it to be operated either by an on-board driver, or remotely. In conjunction with a ground scanner, the GaiaX's wireless key controller allows its operator to identify potential hazards and obstacles on the work site, and to conduct work whilst standing adjacent to the bucket, outside the cab.

"You can either dock the key controller and use it in the cab, and go about your work as you would normally, or you can jump down, go over to the bucket, and see where the excavation is actually taking place," said Ulmefors. "All of the software would be integrated within this controller. This allows the operator to stand by the bucket to operate the machine, thus eliminating the need to have one person in the cab and another spotting from the ground."

For in-depth coverage of the Volvo GaiaX compact excavator, check out the April 2014 issue of PMV Middle East .

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Publication:Construction Week
Date:Mar 10, 2014
Words:407
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