Construction and Infrastructure

Video: Driverless car is one thing - but what about a driverless digger?

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 20 August 2020 7:00

Anyone listening to yesterday’s news will have heard that driverless cars being considered for the nation’s roads, but they might not have heard of a driverless digger. 

At least it what we would call a digger. Those who know about these things could call it a skid-steer loader – one of those tractor-like beasts that can pick up anything (with the right hands at the controls). 

It turns out a Cotswold family firm has just scooped a deal to become a main dealer for the world’s first fully electric loader, which can be steered traditionally, from the cab – or via your mobile phone or consol!

Which we indulge here because it is not just interesting, the type of kit only the likes of James Bond would get his hands on, but good news for a county business. 

We are talking aboutHeming Engineering which has added to its burgeoning sales portfolio by becoming sole dealer in five counties for Prague-basedKovaco Electric Company’s Elise 900 loader. 

“The beauty of the Kovaco Electric machines is that you get all the performance of diesel vehicles without emissions and noise,” said Peter Heming (pictured below), managing director of parent company Heming Group, which has been in business for 52 years and is based in Willersey, near Broadway 

As there are only electrical motors in the machine service costs are set to a minimum, while operational cost savings compared to a conventional loader are dramatic and should pay for the machine within the first years of operation.” 

Explaining why Heming had won the contract, Finlay Bassett, UK business development manager for Kovaco Electric, said: “Heming Group is a very versatile business operating in various different sectors of industry and this greatly appealed to me.”

And before any cynics propose an electric vehicle doing heavy work will mean plenty of time for workmen to enjoy tea breaks while batteries re-charge, think again. 

Apparently, the loader can push on for more than eight hours on one charge. 

Heming Engineering has been appointed as sole dealer for the loader across Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire,Warwickshire and Oxfordshire.

Operators can drive the vehicles manually by way of two in-cab joysticks or remotely via a mobile phone supplied with the machine as standard - or via an optional 433 Mhz two joystick control set. 

The Kovaco Electric mobile phone application is even available to download from the internet. 

This application allows the mobile phone to be used as a remote dashboard when operating from outside the cab or as a conventional type dashboard when operating the machine whilst in the cab.

Heming expects the kit to be of interest to those running poultry, pig and fruit farms, as well as in factories, builders’ yards, the construction industry and the landscaping, amenities and equine sectors. 

Earlier this year Mr Heming became chairman for BAGMA (British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association) for the four counties regional group of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire. 

Heming Group is made up of Heming Services, Heming Plant Hire, Ford Electrical and Major Cooling and Heating – as well as Heming Engineering. 

The latter has built its reputation on providing tractor parts and machinery spares, the servicing and repair of all types of agricultural equipment, commercial and four-wheel drive vehicles and the maintenance of industrial and construction equipment.

First published August 19.