Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
Excavators are used for the rapid removal of soil and other materials in mines, quarries, and construction sites. The automation of these machines offers promise for increasing productivity and improving safety. To date, most research in this area has focussed on selected parts of the problem. In this paper, we present a system that completely automates the truck loading task. The excavator uses two scanning laser rangefinders to recognize and localize the truck, measure the soil face, and detect obstacles. The excavator’s software decides where to dig in the soil, where to dump in the truck, and how to quickly move between these points while detecting and stopping for obstacles. The system was fully implemented and was demonstrated to load trucks as fast as human operators.