Drones to help Caterpillar track equipment

Caterpillar has a marketing agreement with Redbird to access the French firm’s expertise on deploying drones to collect the data and using sophisticated computer algorithms to crunch and interpret the numbers.

Drones are seen as an efficient way to cover a lot of ground quickly and collect data.

But aerial data collection won’t be happening in the United States:  Caterpillar’s agreement with Redbird covers its operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Caterpillar said it plans to see how the agreement works out overseas first. “We are going to explore the scope of the agreement with Redbird on an ongoing basis, and it could expand to become more global in nature to meet customer needs,” said Caterpillar spokesman Matt Lavoie. “But not today.”

Caterpillar has said in the past that providing customers and dealers with real-time information that lets them get the most out of the machinery investment and cut maintenance downtime is a top priority.

“Caterpillar is always searching for ways to collaborate outside our four walls to give our customers and dealers a competitive edge,” said George Taylor, a company vice president with responsibility for its marketing and digital division.

Redbird said deploying drones to gather information rapidly is the next frontier in the development of these unmanned aerial vehicles.

“Drones are entering a new phase, with data analytics as the heart of this evolution,” said Emmauel de Maistre, the Redbird chief executive who co-founded the company in 2013.

“We are honored by this collaboration with Caterpillar, which will bring tangible benefits to construction sites, mines and quarries, helping customers work faster and safer.”

Herald and Review

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