Develop ideas for "connected" robotic construction equipment
top 6
21 months ago
Small pic timberjack

John Deere manufactures a number of different types of construction equipment. Two of these you have probably seen before - backhoes and excavators. As their name suggests, these machines are used for digging holes and moving material. In their current forms, they are capable of little more. Here are some videos to help you get more acquainted with them:

Backhoe video

Excavator video

However, we want these machines to do more. Lots more. We are interested in what these machines could do if they were automated with robotics (no human operator necessary) and outfitted with new, never-before-seen tools. Could they be turned into automated bricklayers? Or mobile oil derricks? What useful and amazing applications can you come up?

We are looking for outside the box ideas! Don’t be generic, and don’t be afraid to go wild.


Please submit the following:

1) Propose a new use for an Excavator or a Backhoe type machine assuming it is robotic (does not require human operation and has precise positioning and repeatability) and no longer has the bucket attachment. Instead, replace the bucket with something new and more useful.

2) Explain how the machine could perform the new use even better if it had connectivity to one or more of the following:

- other machines

- mobile devices

- the internet

- GPS.

3) Describe what changes or additions to the machine would be needed for the proposed new use.

4) If applicable, attach a sketch or image showing what your revamped backhoe/excavator would look like. For example, if the excavator bucket needs to be replaced with a gripping mechanism, then reflect that in your sketch.

Criteria: Keep the following in mind as you submit your solutions:

1) The “new use” can be something that is already being done today, or it can be some task that is entirely new.

2) Feel free to change the machine design to make it compatible with the new use case you come up with. Just be sure to specify those changes in your solution!

3) Be innovative, be creative!

4) By submitting a solution, solvers agree to the terms and conditions in the attached PDF file.

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
Additional Materials:
Top 3 share $450 Next 3 share $150
$150.00 Square pic 60 fff0a5 University of Wisconsin
$150.00 Square pic 60 img 1375 Florida State University
$150.00 A Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
$50.00 Square pic 60 background lake Elon University
$50.00 Square pic 60 image fresnostate
$50.00 I University of Cincinnati