Palfinger pioneers autonomous operations

29 April 2022

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Tech alliance set to develop off-highway applications.

Palfinger has announced a new collaboration with Ammann, Prinoth, Rosenbauer and TTControl as part of the Autonomous Operation Cluster (AOC). Together they are developing key technologies for off-highway applications based on computer vision and artificial intelligence.

Palfinger believes that one of the biggest challenges for technology companies is to create smart solutions for difficult off-road operations. For this reason it is part of the cross-industry Autonomous Operation Cluster (AOC) collaboration which aims to accelerate the development of advanced assistance functions to ease operators’ jobs, increase productivity and create more safety.

As an enabler for autonomous operation functions the AOC will address smart and autonomous operation of road construction equipment and off-highway applications such as cranes, fire-fighting equipment, and snow groomers. In these sectors, Palfinger says, computer vision- and artificial intelligence-based solutions assist precise detection of objects and processing of information from the surrounding environment. The collaboration with AOC is part of the ACES Program for Autonomous, Connected and Eco-Efficient Solutions, a core element of Palfinger’s overall digitiation strategy.

Palfinger says it wants to create its own business model for digital platforms in the future. “Developing together common technologies and sharing critical computer visioning and AI capabilities within an advanced development environment will allow Palfinger and all partners of the AOC to increase speed to market and leverage synergies in the development of smart lifting solutions,” says Andreas Hille, senior vice president product line management and engineering at Palfinger. “Following our Palfinger strategy we are providing digital assistance and autonomous operating functions which maximise operational effectiveness, increase operational safety, and generate additional value by seamlessly integrating our smart lifting solutions into the digital ecosystems of our customers.”

The main initiator of the AOC is the technology company TTControl, a provider in the field of safety control systems, rugged displays, and connectivity as well as IoT solutions for mobile machinery and off-highway vehicles. Roberto Ferrari, senior vice president service & operations at TTControl emphasises, “TTControl will support this groundbreaking endeavor with its advanced knowledge of electronic architectures and expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. With PALFINGER we share the same interests in terms of increasing reliability, comfort and safety of our solutions and already work closely in other business areas. Together we can create the next generation of automation and autonomy capabilities in the mobile machinery and off-highway industries.”

In 2022, the partners of the AOC will define a technological solution and develop the first prototypes. Based on the specific use cases, further application implementations will then be continued in 2023.