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Caterpillar looking to build robotic machinery

Darren Murph
09.25.06
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Robotic machines certainly aren't reserved for just party hopping -- as we've seen automated firefighters and unassisted surgeons doing their thang already -- and Caterpillar isn't about to fall behind the times, as its looking to "smart iron" to maintain that edge in the oh-so-fierce heavy machinery biz. By investing a hefty amount of its non-finance revenue back into R&D, CAT is hoping that within a few years its earthmovers will be operating sans the operator. While also working on fuel cell-powered machines on the side, the company is looking into GPS integration in order to examine terrain, geography, and location from afar, as well as utilizing autonomous instructions to handle lifting, moving, and the myriad of dirty chores those yellow behemoths must handle. While machines that roll solo are certainly ideal, remote controlled versions are also being evaluated, so expertly trained drivers can direct their vessel(s) from the comfort of a dust free, air conditioned office. CAT's CEO is definitely amped about the robotic possibilities, and reportedly hopes to see results wheeling around your neighborhood "10 or 15 years down the road."

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