Electrical control of an excavator arm


The trend in construction machinery is also moving toward assistance systems that support the driver and thus reduce the workload, or even toward (partial) automation, where certain work steps are completely taken over by an intelligent control system. To make such intelligent assistants possible, all joints of the hydraulic marvel must be electronically controllable. A higher-level control system is then able to coordinate the joints against each other and control them appropriately.

In the “Autonomous Mobile Excavator” (AMoBa) project, a mobile hydraulic excavator from Volvo Construction Equipment was equipped with an electronic control system. THOR (Terraforming Heavy Outdoor Robot), as the 18t monster is called, was then used to develop and optimize algorithms for the distributed control of an excavator arm. On the basis of the electrified prototype, research work on the topic of environment recognition and autonomous landscaping is being carried out at the Robotics Research Lab of the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. The long-term goal is to let the robot perform autonomous landscape shaping tasks.

Realized added values

Time savings

Once programmed, and the joints of the excavator arm can be easily operated in a coordinated manner. Even automated work steps are possible.


The highly synchronous, real-time capable and coordinated control allows a precise movement of the entire arm, across all joints.

Comfort + Safety

Partial automation relieves the operator of tasks. Functional support means a plus in safety and increased operating comfort.


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Have we aroused your interest? Do you as a machine manufacturer want to be one of the pioneers in the development of Intelligent Mobile Machines? 

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