Bobcat brought robots, augmented reality, and a new EV to CES

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Doosan Bobcat brought all-electric equipment, autonomous ag robots, and an augmented reality operator cab that’s so brilliant, you’ll be mad you didn’t think of it.

You’re not crazy. It is a bit late to be post CES news — but very now and then you run across something new, and you can’t quite wrap your head around what you’re looking at until you’ve seen it a few times.

That’s precisely what happened here. While the next evolution of the Bobcat Rogue X autonomous electric loader (above) had completely captured my attention, what I should have been getting excited about was Bobcat’s brilliant augmented reality play.

Dubbed “Advanced Display Technology,” the new AR concept from Bobcat enables operators to see through the surface of the job site in front of them. This capability allows them to “see” electrical lines, gas lines, sewer pipes, and more.

Augmented reality on the job

Bobcat “Advanced Display Technology” AR concept at CES 2024; via EJ.

“This is a canvas for us to add in a whole bunch more information for the operator,” says Joel Honeyman, Vice President of Global Innovation at Bobcat. “The possibilities are endless. It’s a display that we can put anything on.”

Bobcat’s AR display was developed with help from LG Electronics and BSI Research, and is built into a semi-transparent OLED screen that takes the place of the cab’s windshield or side window. On the CES floor, the AR display was used to show utility lines beneath the floor.

A spokesperson for the company said that the AR concept has already been tested on Bobcat’s compact loaders, mini excavators, and telehandlers.

Doosan Bobcat display at CES 2024

Also on display was the all-new, battery-powered AT450X electric articulating tractor (above, left) which joins the all-electric Bobcat loader (above, right) first shown as a concept back at CES 2022.

Bobcat says the new AT450X is designed to autonomously or remotely carry out critical farm tasks on vineyards and orchards, or on farms where animals could be negatively affected by diesel emissions. Those autonomous functions were co-developed through a collaboration between Bobcat and Agtonomy, and will enable farmers to direct the tractor to execute a wide range of tasks that includes:

  • mowing
  • spraying
  • precision weeding
  • product and material support

“By digitally transforming the equipment farmers know and trust, we can help them combat the daily challenges they face, such as labor constraints and the ever-increasing demand for sustainable farming practices in specialty crops,” explains Tim Bucher, CEO and co-founder of Agtonomy. “The Bobcat AT450X with Agtonomy’s TeleFarmer technology makes the perfect end-to-end solution for agriculture and other industries allowing both companies to make a positive impact and that is what it is all about.”

In addition to pre-programmed tasks, the AT450X can harness AI (because: 2024) to “continuously learn and dynamically react to” the changing farm. Utilizing vision-based systems, it can identify both known and unknown objects, automatically halting its operation.

Furthermore, the AT450X doesn’t require downtime. It has the capability to autonomously swap out its own batteries when running low on power. The process involves returning to its home base, switching to a fully charged battery, and placing its drained battery back into its charging station (although this feature wasn’t observed at the show, it sounds impressive).

“With our company’s beginnings in agriculture, we have a strong connection to the land and an appreciation for the farmers who work long hours in a wide variety of conditions to feed the world,” said Honeyman. “As we innovate for the worksites of tomorrow, solutions like the AT450X will help make farming more productive, efficient and sustainable through digital advancements.”

Electrek’s Take

Despite the common refrain that the construction industry is ten years behind the car business, it seems that companies like Bobcat, Caterpillar, and John Deere are pushing hard to pack their future products with high-tech ADAS options designed to make the work of construction and agriculture easier and more sustainable.

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