Working with The Norwegian Armed Forces
In 2008 Gjermundshaug Group won a large tender for the Norwegian Armed Forces. The job largely consisted of cleaning up a decommissioned artillery range used by the army for over 50 years. The artillery range was over 165 km2 - an area larger than Washington DC.
The area contained a large number of undetonated bombs/shells, so excavation had to be done via remote control in order to clean up the area safely. Gjermundshaug Group were unable to find any business´ already having the necessary technology for running machines remotely, and therefore acquired several tech companies in Norway to develop an in-house solution. 6 months later - several remote-controlled Caterpillar excavators were operational in the artillery range and the tedious cleanup process started, which is still being worked on today. Operators are often located hundreds of kilometers away - safe and sound from the explosives.
Dump trucks being run semi-autonomous with Steer
A few years later - articulated dump trucks (ADT) from Caterpillar were introduced into the project - moving dirt and explosives to assigned areas. The dump trucks were initially remote controlled by operators - but it was soon decided that this could be automated - so an autonomous system based on GPS were developed and installed onto the ADTs. The dump trucks now drove 7 kilometers by themselves, freeing up operator time to focus on loading the trucks and manually controlling the ADT’s at the location where the dump was loaded. Through this change in operations, it was discovered that the autonomous ADT’s outperformed the remote controlled and operator driven ADT’s as they could drive significantly faster.
The cleanup is still going
Over 500 metric tons of undetonated ammunition and metal scrap has been removed by the Norwegian Armed Forces and Gjermundshaug Group since the project started in 2008, and it’s expected that it will be perfectly safe to visit the area in 2020.
Caterpillar interested in Steer´s work and progress
During the last 10 years, the decommissioned artillery range has been gradually reverted back to its natural state with no remnants of military operations. During these years, representatives of Caterpillar in the US visited the work grounds several times to see the Steer system in action.
New opportunities with other companies
Similar cleanup jobs have been undertaken by Gjermundshaug Group for the Norwegian Armed Forces, Danish Armed Forces, PEAB, Orica and Dyno Nobel ASA, using remote controlled machines built by the people behind Steer. We´ve been working steadily for over 10.000 hours - moving over 200.000 cubic meters of dirt.