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Sun November 28 2021

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Bobcat introduces iPhone control

11 Nov Bobcat compact loaders can now be remote controlled by iPhone or iPad – and an Android version should be available shortly.

The smartphone app allows the operator to get out of the cab and stay in control
The smartphone app allows the operator to get out of the cab and stay in control

Bobcat’s new MaxControl remote control system can be used on any Bobcat loader with selectable joystick controls (SJC) dating as far back as 2004.

MaxControl is a new hardware kit, combined with an iOS application, with touch controls that are designed for smartphones, so that remote control using the system is as intuitive as using a phone app.

The system allows one operator to do two jobs at once, using remote control to operate a second machine from the cab of the first – for example, an operator can sit in an excavator and use a loader remotely for back-filling.

The MaxControl system uses a wi-fi signal to communicate with the operator’s iOS device and operates in a range of up to 100 metres. In remote areas with poor connectivity, the system keeps the operator logged on for 12 hours of operation. Other features include: 

  • machine diagnostics and error codes
  • peer-to-peer sharing – multiple end-users can be given access to the machine, enabling a quick change of operators if required
  • track hours of operation
  • retrofittable to all SJC loaders from J to R-Series machines.
  • Upgradable software, with more features in the works.

“The jobsite of the future is a more connected place and gamification will play a vital role. Changing demographics and consumer preferences are pushing our industry into categories that have been unheard of or have been poorly addressed in the machinery sector,” said Vijayshekhar Nerva, head of innovation and acceleration for Doosan Bobcat EMEA. “At the same time, the need to address environmental impact, safety and elimination of downtime has become paramount.”

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He added: “Bobcat has much wider plans for the MaxControl system. We are looking to make MaxControl a simple modular solution, with one hardware box for the groundwork, laying the foundation for other features. Remote operation is the first feature and we are looking into adding more in the future such as object avoidance and semi-autonomy.”

One of the first customers to try the system was Eduard Heredia, a manager with Spanish building contractor Obras y Construcciones Corbera. He said: “In just a few hours I had mastered the operation of the loader through my own iPhone – I would definitely highlight the safety aspects. The MaxControl system is very useful and versatile as I can use it with the bucket or with a variety of Bobcat attachments to carry out different tasks safely such as clearing brush or using a wheel saw. Also, I only have a Bobcat tracked loader at the moment, but in the future I might buy a skid-steer model and I will be able to work with the MaxControl with both machines.”

Another was Markus Poth, owner of German landscaping contractor Poth Garten & Landschaftsbau. He said: "The set-up was child's play and very intuitive. You simply connect the device to the machine via the joystick control and a remote dashboard forms and is displayed on the smartphone. Thanks to this flexibility, the operator can simply start the machine, pull out his mobile phone and control the machine remotely. Switching back to manual driving is just as quick. MaxControl provides us with two extra hands, saving time and money. It solves the problem of constantly getting on and off the machine for certain jobs, such as loading materials or driving over ramps.”

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