Earlier this year, I watched the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The most stunning and awe-inspiring part for me wasn’t that it released Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into space. It was the return and simultaneous landing of the two booster rockets. The feat was a technological ballet.
While I remain utterly impressed, I am no less fascinated by what are becoming “everyday” technological improvements in heavy equipment. These accomplishments may not involve sports cars equipped with a “Starman” mannequin, but when you read Carol Brzozowski’s “The Software Side of Compaction” and the precision that can be achieved with Intelligent Compaction, you might wonder why it’s not making more mainstream headlines.
There may not be a viral video of an excavator outfitted with intelligent machine control like there is of the fiery controlled burn of the twin rockets slowly touching down, but in Lori Lovely’s “Bigger is Better… Sometimes” feature, you’ll see that excavators are doing things that have only recently been imagined.
You really don’t need to look that far beyond our own dirt moving industry to feel part of this movement toward the future of things. That evolution has been growing within us for several years and seems to be picking up speed. Who knows? Maybe the day is coming when SpaceX and heavy equipment OEMs are launching fully electric, artificially intelligent backhoes and dozers destined for Mars to help terraform the planet autonomously.
One more thing about the SpaceX launch… that Tesla Roadster was supposed to be shot into the orbital plane of Mars. Unfortunately, something went wrong and the car overshot its mark. Now it looks like the car will end up somewhere near the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. So, in the spirit of unforeseen errors, please read Daniel P. Duffy’s article, “Protection Means More than Safety.” It’s about insurance policies and best safety practices. Just in case.