Semcon develops an autonomous compactor


Semcon has developed a solution to make a compactor autonomous, as part of a Norwegian innovation project relating to road construction.

The project’s objective was to eliminate difficult work for staff, reduce the time needed to build new roads and enhance quality, resulting in longer lifespan. 

“This work requires a great deal of accuracy and experience, but at the same time it is carried out in a limited amount of space,” said Thomas Eriksen, technical project manager at Semcon in Norway. 

“These are perfect conditions for an autonomous solution, where one operator can control several machines that can work at night, for example.”

The compactor used was a Hamm H25i, which has a top speed of 12 km per hour and travels at an average speed of 2 to 3 km per hour during compaction.

When constructing roads, the compactor has to complete six passes over the surface with a minimum of 20 cm overlap at each passing. With an autonomous solution, the route travelled is established on the basis of GPS positioning for an optimum run offering maximum quality.

Safety is enhanced by optical sensors, which detect whether there is anyone or anything nearby and stops the machine. A complete safety solution for safe civil engineering works will be prepared until the system is fully operational.

Semcon tech spans new roads to airports

Semcon tackled the creation of the autonomous compactor as part of a project launched by Nya Veier in Norway, which is being implemented by AF Gruppen. This work is based on a control system developed by Yeti Snow Technology AS, co-owned by Semcon, Husqvarna Group and Øveraasen.

The system is capable of tackling different applications, where operation and maintenance have to be managed safely, with high levels of precision and repeatability.

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Earlier applications for the system include clearing snow on runways and brushing landing lights at airports. 

“This is a good example of how new technology is paving the way for safe, efficient solutions for road construction in the future. In the long run, it will create opportunities to build new roads more quickly and more cost effectively,” said Sebastian Kussel, who is in charge of technology and development at Nya Veier. 

The next planned step in the project is to perform tasks autonomously under restricted conditions by the end of 2020.