Watch a Construction Crew Operate Heavy Equipment by Remote Control

One operator can control three different trucks at the same time.

byNico DeMattia|


I can't even drive a remote control car well. I constantly crash, then I get frustrated, and I stop. So the idea of operating heavy machinery like excavators and dump trucks via remote control both terrifies and impresses me. However, Teleo retrofits all sorts of heavy construction machinery with semi-autonomous technology, allowing contractors to operate them remotely and it's wild to watch.

One of the first companies to use Teleo's remote control tech is Florida-based contractor, Tomahawk, which just started using Teleo's tech in some of its trucks. While using the trucks and excavators to build a new housing development in Naples, Florida, the operator sits in a building 45 miles away in Fort Meyers, Florida. Not only is the operator capable of controlling the equipment, but he's also able to control multiple vehicles from the same chair. That means one person can control several trucks, cutting down on the employees needed for a job.

That sounds great for contractors, who can hire fewer employees, thus cutting the costs of certain projects, but it's certainly going to make already AI-averse people even more unhappy. However, according to Teleo and Tomahawk, labor shortages are making it more and more difficult for contractors to find skilled drivers and operators for heavy equipment. “We really have just had a hard time getting people into haul trucks,” said Tomahawk owner Scott Lyons.

From a technical standpoint, Teleo's tech is incredibly impressive. The operator sits in what looks like a flight simulator rig—with three monitors, a control screen, and a joystick—and controls multiple vehicles. “I am the first operator in the world to run multiple articulated dump trucks at once,” said Tomahawk operator Max Bogacz. He uses the excavator to dig up dirt, then dump that dirt in the back of a dump truck, and haul the dirt away, all from the comfort of a cozy leather chair, in an air-conditioned room, 45 miles away.

With autonomy and artificial intelligence becoming more and more common, there will surely be more remote-controlled heavy machines driving around construction sites sooner than later. It will be interesting to see what other sorts of applications Teleo can use this tech for and how it can improve the speed and efficiency of many jobs.

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