Spanish infrastructure firm Acciona has begun testing driverless heavy construction machinery at its depot in Noblejas, central Spain.
According to the firm, the tests will simulate real site conditions, including obstacles, tight turns and route changes with vehicles travelling loaded and unloaded.
The first trials will be conducted with the Caterpillar Dumper 773F (pictured), an autonomous version of the standard 4.3m high, 10m long truck that can move up to 50 tonnes of earth.
Acconia says this technology "will shorten infrastructure construction times, increase productivity and reduce accident rates by avoiding situations of risk for workers", with similar machinery "expected to be in use on real projects within a few years".
The firm adds that self-driving vehicles will be useful in situations that have previously posed risk to human workers, such as working on a steep slopes.
The trial is part of a larger Acconia initiative to digitalise the construction processes. This will involve the use of "big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, connected objects, 3D printing, mixed reality and blockchain into what is generally a very traditional industry".
Image courtesy of Acciona