Hiab launches remote crane operation system

New vision system will allow crane operators to stay in the truck cab and work remotely


Crane equipment manufacturer Hiab has announced a new vision system – the HiVision 3D control system – for mobile crane operators, allowing them to remain in the truck cab during loading and unloading.

Premiering this week at the Bauma exhibition in Germany, the new solution combines four external cameras, a set of controls, and a virtual reality headset, Hiab vice president of technology and quality development Rafal Sornek says.

“Based on the recent advancements in virtual reality goggles, cameras, and connectivity we have developed a system with cameras on top of the forestry crane, which enables you to see the working area and operate the crane remotely using VR goggles – the HiVision(TM) 3D control system, which is unique in the industry,” Sornek says.

With four cameras, located where the operator would be, providing a 240-degree view off the crane, the virtual reality googles provide a real-time video feed to the operator in the truck cabin.

The googles also mean any movements of the head are reflected in the operator’s view.

While removing the need for an operator to exit the truck cabin may save them from entering dangerous or uncomfortable climates, Sornek has bigger plans.

“In the future the operator doesn’t even have to be in the truck, but operates remotely from a distance, saving costs,” he says.

“I’m a strong believer that we rather soon will have driverless trucks on the roads, and it makes no sense to have crane operators sitting on these waiting passively to get to the site.

“One person could even operate several trucks remotely.”

Autonomous and remote technology is a blossoming field for the transport and logistics sector, and JS Frakt AB’s Henrik Strömbäck who pre-tested the HiVision solution at Hiab’s R&D facility in Hudiksvall, Sweden, says it has benefits.

“The system exceeded my expectations,” Strömbäck says.

“For sure, it’s very different compared to the traditional way. Still, there’s no need to relearn the way you work.

“You don’t have to climb out in the cold – everything is close by and you can start loading immediately when you arrive at the working site.

“You have a surprisingly wide field of vision.”

Sornek says the development stems from a desire “to be the safety forerunner in our industry, complying with regulations even before they become the actual law.”


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