Bobcat has launched the MaxControl remote control system that enables operators to control Bobcat compact loaders remotely via an app installed on an iPhone or iPad. The system provides a new remote control solution for applications in many markets including agriculture, construction, demolition, landscaping, cleaning, recycling and general lifting and handling.
With MaxControl, owners of Bobcat loaders don’t need the latest machines or costly hardware updates to enjoy remote control. The system is compatible with all Bobcat loaders with Selectable Joystick Controls (SJC) dating as far back as 2004. Available for use with iOS devices only at launch, an Android version will follow.
“The jobsite of the future is a more connected place and gamification will play a vital role,” the head of innovation and acceleration for Doosan Bobcat EMEA, Vijayshekhar Nerva, said. “Changing demographics and consumer preferences are pushing our industry into categories that have been unheard of or have been poorly addressed in the machinery sector. At the same time, the need to address environmental impact, safety and elimination of downtime has become paramount.
“Our innovation team has delivered a solution that’s complex enough to improve productivity on the jobsite and, at the same time, packaged to be accessible and simple to use. MaxControl was born out of these ideals and changing preferences to address our ability to not just keep up, but keep ahead of competition in both ‘the iron’ as well as the Digital side of our business.”
The MaxControl system ensures that remote control capability is always at the operator’s fingertips as they can simply reach for the phone in their pocket and start controlling their Bobcat compact loader remotely within seconds, without having to worry about any extra gadgets. Being based on an app, it is easy to get the newest features the moment they are available.
By combining jobs without having to jump in and out of the loader’s cab, the MaxControl system provides the operator with a different view of the job in hand, allowing them to carry out tasks remotely, and to repeat the process with maximum comfort. Being able to operate outside the cab provides a different angle of view, helping new and even less-experienced operators in tight areas.
When lifting and carrying large loads, the use of MaxControl eliminates blind spots in front of the load and raises awareness of the surrounding environment. Being outside the cab also allows for face-to-face communication with co-workers on site, enabling faster organisation of the work. Operators may never know in advance when remote operation will come in handy, but with MaxControl on the ‘phone in their pocket, they’re always ready for any challenges that can arise.
“Bobcat has much wider plans for the MaxControl system,” Mr Nerva added. “We’re looking to make MaxControl a simple modular solution, with one hardware box for the groundwork, laying the foundation for other features. Remote operation is the first feature and we’re looking into adding more in the future such as object avoidance and semi-autonomy.”
Some two-person jobs can now be achieved solo, such as loading a Bobcat loader onto a trailer with maximum precision and without the need to rely on an additional set of eyes. Operators can dig posts or install fences without getting in and out of the cab and finish backfilling without having to switch between machines multiple times.
Bobcat MaxControl provides an extra set of hands, saving time and money in simple everyday tasks such as opening and closing gates or loading bales in shorter time and with a smaller team. Being outside the cab also comes in handy when operating close to livestock or cleaning inside barns.
Bobcat MaxControl is a new hardware kit, combined with an iOS application, with easy touch controls that are designed for smartphones so that remote control using the system is just as intuitive as using a ‘phone app. The system also allows an operator to carry out two jobs at once, using remote control to comfortably operate a second machine from the cab – for example, an operator can sit in an excavator and use a loader remotely for back-filling.
The MaxControl system provides the operator with ultimate control over the jobsite by synchronising the app with multiple machines, switching between machines seamlessly, accomplishing more with less effort. The system allows users to stay comfortable, with no need to climb in and out of protective equipment. They can simply use their phone to send the machine into a dusty or potentially unsafe environment – it does the work while the operator stays a safe distance away. The plug-and-play simplicity of the system means that in a few simple steps, the operator can synchronise any compatible machine with their phone and start working within moments. No specialised equipment or service technician is needed.
The MaxControl system uses a WiFi signal to communicate with the customer’s iOS device and operates in a range of up to 100m. In remote areas with poor connectivity, the system keeps the operator logged on for 12 hours of operation.
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