Vir­tual Re­al­ity reaches the rigs

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

HIGH-TECH screen driven tech­nolo­gies could be a way to get mil­lenials into the truck driv­ing seat.

In a ven­ture be­tween truck crane builder Hiab and Sca­nia trucks, truck driv­ers work­ing in the log­ging in­dus­try are now stay­ing in the com­fort of the truck cab, watch­ing screens and self-load­ing their truck, now an oc­cu­pa­tion where any gamer would have an ad­van­tage.

Hiab’s HiVi­sion crane brings tech­nol­ogy brings this video games tech to the timber in­dus­try.

How does it work? We fol­low Swedish driver Mat­tias Jo­hans­son on a day in the of­fice.

While the rou­tine seems quite nor­mal on the drive to the load­ing ramp but then it’s clear that Jo­hans­son’s truck isn’t like the rest.

While most driv­ers would climb out to an ex­ter­nal crane cab on the back of the truck, he in­stead slides over to his joy­stick-equipped pas­sen­ger seat and slips on a vir­tual re­al­ity head­set.

In gam­ing, the head­set might take him to an­other world, but in Jo­hans­son’s case, it trans­ports him to what amounts to a vir­tual crane cab, courtesy of a cam­era sys­tem mounted on the crane.

The sys­tem gives him a panoramic view of the crane and its sur­round­ings, and from a higher van­tage point than a tra­di­tional crane cab would pro­vide its oper­a­tor.

Viewed from the out­side, the crane seems to be oper­at­ing al­most by magic as it loads the wood stacked by the side of the road onto the truck.

Thirty min­utes later, Jo­hans­son re­moves his head­set and the job is fin­ished.

As the crane folds back up, he picks up a re­mote con­trol, and the timber bunks, Com 90 from ExTe, se­cure them­selves and the load. He’s done all of this with­out leav­ing the air-con­di­tioned truck cab.

In a busi­ness with tight mar­gins, the use of such dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy seems like it could be ex­ces­sive, but Jo­hans­son in­sists that the crane and timber bunks save time, money and weight com­pared to more tra­di­tional al­ter­na­tives.

“This crane is is al­most $5000 cheaper than a reg­u­lar one be­cause the crane cabin costs about that,” he said.

“With this sys­tem, we also save 400kg, which means we can load 400kg more on our ve­hi­cle.”


LEFT: Will new tech­nolo­gies in­duce young peo­ple from the ‘screen gen­er­a­tion’ to look at truck­ing as a ca­reer?

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