Teleoperation of Remote Machinery

Soliton’s Technology for Teleoperation

What is Teleoperation?

Teleoperation is the method of remote controlling machinery or vehicles from a remote location. This could include cranes, diggers, forklift trucks and other machinery that need to operate in hazardous areas. But it can also be used where there is a lack of locally qualified personnel and lower cost remote teleoperator workers could be utilized instead as a more cost effective alternative.

Remote Operation of KOMATSU Machinery in Feb 2020

This is a real-life example of the Zao-SH in action where a remote digger is being controlled from an operations platfrom in Tokyo that is 280km away.

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The Technology Behind Teleoperation

In order to operate remote heavy machinery from a far away location, it is necessary to see out of the cockpit window or windscreen as if you are local in real time with almost zero delay. As an operator you need a reaction time as if the operator was in sitting in the machine to any external variables, despite in fact potentially being a very long way away.

The Soliton range of Zao video encoders allows live video to be streamed from a remote location back to teleoperator center with extreme reliability, with a return path for control signals to steer, move and control the digger, crane, forklift or other external machine.

The Zao range of video encoders uses bonded cellular technology to send video over several different cellular operators simultaneously.

This gives a highly reliable connection removing the need for reliance on a single SIM card, and in conjunction with Soliton’s RASCOW2 algorithm, it can optimize video based on available bandwidth. It will stream video even in the most challenging of situations. However the uniqueness of Solitons technology is the ultra-low latency. Over 4G, end-to-end latency on a public network is below 100ms from camera in the vehicle to the receiving-end monitor, a “glass-to-glass” figure unheard of in this industry. With 5G connectivity, this latency is even lower.

The video encoder in the vehicle can also act as an internet hotspot. It is via this IP connection that a return command signal can be sent in real-time to control and drive the vehicle or machine.

How to drive a vehicle or heavy machinery when you can't be there?

The answer to remote driving vehicles and remote heavy machinery operation.

Remote driving is not to be confused with self-driving. In remote driving the vehicle is driven in the same way as normal by a human driver, it just happens to be in a car simulator some distance away. Self-driving is where the car decides for itself what it should do.

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Remote Operation of Tower Cranes

  • Remotely control a tower crane, for example used in the construction of high-rise buildings.
  • The cockpit of the crane is very high up, it is difficult for operator event to take a break, which is a harsh working environment, subject to risk and there is demand for reducing the load on operator.
  • Zao-X provides delay-free video transmission for smooth operation of crane.
  • Remote control of camera with settings such as white balance to adapt to conditions such as the outdoor sunshine haze.

Remote Operation of Construction Machinery

  • Remotely drive construction vehicles that work in hazardous areas
  • Due to harsh working conditions, there is a serious labor shortage of operators
  • Achieves ultra-short delay video transmission with Zao-X
  • Stable transmission even in areas with poor radio wave conditions due to highly reliable LTE 4G/5G multi-linked connections and RASCOW2
  • Stability and reliability is important for control signals for driving a vehicle