Space, the final frontier for Komatsu

Space represents the final frontier for Komatsu.
Earthmoving & Earth Compaction / January 26, 2022 1 minute Read
By MJ Woof
Komatsu is now working on autonomous construction machines for use in space
Komatsu has been selected to develop innovative technologies for autonomous construction in outer space. This forward thinking project is being managed by the Japanese government.

The company says that it will now be participating in the project for the development of technologies that will see autonomous construction being used on the Moon as well as elsewhere.

Because it is complicated to operate machines on the moon's surface, Komatsu believes that digital twin technology is essential, recreating site conditions and machines. To develop this technology, Komatsu will conduct a feasibility study to verify the possibility of developing high-precision digital twin technology, the basic technology of lunar construction equipment. Specifically, Komatsu will create and operate a hydraulic excavator in cyberspace and compare its movements with actual equipment on Earth to verify the simulator's precision. Komatsu will also set the surface conditions of the moon as cyberspace, and check the movements of the excavator in the simulator in order to identify the issues facing lunar equipment.

Komatsu president and CEO Hiroyuki Ogawa applied for the request for proposal concerning the Project for Promoting the Development of Innovative Technologies for Outer Space Autonomous Construction. The project will be lead by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) with collaboration by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This Project was decided by the MLIT as part of its Strategic Program for Accelerating Research, Development and Utilisation of Space Technology. Komatsu’s proposal of the Development of Digital Twin Technology for Lunar Construction Equipment was selected as an eligible target of Technology related to Autonomous Construction.

Under the leadership of the Council of Promoting the Development of Innovative Technologies for Autonomous Construction, an inter-ministry collaboration body, all selected companies and organisations will conduct research and development of their individual technologies. In this way, Komatsu will contribute to Japan’s achievement of advanced construction and research and development of outer space construction activities, such as on the moon.

In the ongoing three-year, mid-term management plan, to be completed in the fiscal year, Komatsu is working to achieve safe, highly productive, smart, and clean workplaces of the future by advancing products and processes. Concerning the selected Development of Digital Twin Technology for Lunar Construction Equipment, Komatsu will use accumulated technologies in both products and processes.
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