5 tech takeaways from CES 2024

Construction is still new to CES, but as technology advances, the lines between machines and tech are blurring. Here’s what five leading equipment manufacturers had on display at the 2024 event in Las Vegas, Jan. 9-12.

An unmanned Hyundai HD machine at CES 2024.

CES 2024 drew 135,000 attendees from all over the world to see 2.5+ million net square feet of exhibits. On display were examples of the latest technology that promises to change the world in the years to come. Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not all cell phones and gaming consoles.

This year’s event drew many big-name equipment manufacturers, who have solid reasons for having a presence at the show, traditionally aimed at the everyday consumer.

“We’re tech too,” declared Joel Honeyman, vice president of global innovation at Doosan Bobcat. “This is our third show and I would say it’s the best move we have made from the perspective of getting our word out to the world about the technology we’re working on.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) led the global conversation at this year’s CES, highlighting its enormous potential to improve our world with cutting-edge applications for construction and agriculture.

Sustainability was another prominent theme, providing a platform for exhibitors to showcase their commitment to sustainable solutions through technologies, products and services that reduce emissions and waste by streamlining electrification, developing renewable energy sources and experimenting with new technologies such as battery recycling.

Following is a roundup of what some leading OEMs had on show in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Hyundai Xite Transformation sets its sights on the future of construction

HD Hyundai, a global company known for specialized construction equipment and energy solutions, as well as eco-friendly infrastructure technology, introduced ‘Xite Transformation,’ a vision the company hopes will become a solution to create a more sustainable future for the world. 

Xite is explained as an expanded concept for building smart construction sites with autonomous, digital twin, eco-friendly, electrification and more future construction equipment technologies. Shifting focus from individual machines running on fossil fuel to AI and data-based, site-level system solutions powered by sustainable energy sources, HD Hyundai’s Xite innovation is created with artificial intelligence (AI), digital technologies and robotics. 

“Improving the productivity and sustainability of the construction industry is key to tackling many, if not all the human security challenges of our civilization,” said Kisun Chung, president and CEO of HD Hyundai, in his keynote speech on Jan. 10. “CES and the world will see our vision for digital twin and smart construction solutions systems. It is about changing the way we build so that we can change our future.

“The construction industry has laid the foundation for human civilization, and yet it remains one of the slowest today when it comes to technology and innovation,” Chung said. “This solution utilizes the latest technology to create a more sustainable future for humanity by solving pressing challenges such as safety, security, supply chain issues and climate change.”

Chung continued to present the company’s three main innovation goals: enhancing safety with digital technologies, delivering productivity with site autonomy, and decarbonizing and building an energy value chain. He also revealed its innovative technology, X-Wise and X-Wise Xite, which will be key in the journey towards Xite Transformation.

X-Wise is an AI platform that maximizes safety and efficiency in fleet management to reach the ultimate goal of site autonomy and will be applied to all HD Hyundai’s industrial solutions as a base technology going forward. X-Wise Xite is an intelligent site management solution developed for optimal production of infrastructure by connecting all construction equipment applied with X-Wise in real time.

Bobcat introduces first autonomous and electric articulating tractor 

Bobcat highlighted several machines and unveiled a new concept at CES.  Top billing went to the AT450X enabled by Agtonomy, described as the industry’s first autonomous and

Bobcat AT450X The AT450X is designed to autonomously or remotely carry out critical farm tasks in compact applications such as vineyards and orchards. (Photo: Doosan Bobcat)

electric articulating tractor.

The battery-powered unit combines a Bobcat articulating tractor with Agtonomy’s software and embedded-computing technology to support emissions-free and autonomous operation, Bobcat stated.

The AT450X is designed to autonomously or remotely carry out critical farm tasks in compact applications such as vineyards and orchards. Farmers can remotely direct the tractor to execute a range of tasks, including mowing, spraying, precision weeding, product and material transport and other labor-intensive activities, Bobcat explained.

“As a pioneer in the compact equipment industry, we are continually innovating to create solutions for our customers’ toughest challenges,” said Joel Honeyman, Doosan Bobcat vice president of global innovation. “By combining emerging technologies with our proven products, we are developing cutting-edge solutions to meet the demands of a changing world as we transform how we work, build and live.” 

Other highlights from Bobcat included:  

All-electric Bobcat S7X skid-steer loader  - Following the introduction of the all-electric Bobcat T7X compact track loader unveiled during CES 2022, Bobcat continues to evolve its all-electric product offering with the Bobcat S7X skid-steer loader. 

Powered with a lithium-ion battery, the S7X steer-skid loader is all-electric, as Bobcat eliminated all hydraulics, and instead uses electric drive motors and ball screw actuators for lift and tilt functions. By eliminating the hydraulics, the S7X has 50% fewer components, simpler componentry and 96% less fluid, coolants and lubricants compared to traditional diesel-hydraulic loaders. 

Advanced display technology  - Bobcat showcased the future of advanced display technology with its transparent, touch-display concept, which enables operators to seamlessly view both the jobsite and operation information.

Built into the cab door of the S7X, the display serves dual purposes by transforming the machine’s main window to enhance operator productivity and efficiency to the task at hand. The display concept was developed in conjunction with LG Electronics and BSI Research. 

Bobcat RogueX2 concept loader - Bobcat’s latest concept loader, the RogueX2 is an all-electric and autonomous concept machine producing zero emissions, as it features a lithium-ion battery, electric drive system and electric actuated lift and tilt kinematics with no hydraulics.       

RogueX2 is the second iteration of this Bobcat invention. The RogueX and subsequent RogueX2 were built as a proving ground to advance the Bobcat innovation roadmap, evaluate customer perceptions and challenge traditional kinematics and machine functionality.  

Built without a cab, this conceptual machine explores the idea of operating where humans cannot go to tackle more work in more places from an autonomous or remote position. 

Kubota unveils New Agri Concept electric multi-purpose vehicle
Kubota New Agri Concept Kubota unveiled the New Agri Concept, a fully electric, multi-purpose vehicle designed for flexibility and to support a wide range of tasks.

Kubota unveiled the New Agri Concept, a fully electric, multi-purpose vehicle designed for flexibility and to support a wide range of tasks.

The vehicle’s six independent drive motors and a standard three-point hitch allow it to use many existing implements for common operations including mowing and tilling. Fast charging from 10% to 80% in less than six minutes reduces downtime, while electric drives enable quiet operation, making the New Agri Concept easy to operate in residential settings or at night.

“I am excited to help unveil our New Agri Concept, which showcases our design philosophy and builds on Kubota’s long legacy of technology innovation for the betterment of society,” said Senior Technologist for Kubota North America Brett McMickell.

“This concept vehicle, as shown in the immersive video, displays the future potential of fusing digital and physical to provide complete solutions for our customers.

“Many technologies, such as AI, connectivity, and autonomy, need to come together in order to realize Kubota’s vision of providing solutions across the food value chain – from growers to consumers. Kubota provided more than a vision, but an invitation to be part of the future where technology works seamlessly with our customers to create a more sustainable and efficient society.”

Todd Stucke, Kubota executive officer and newly appointed president of Kubota Tractor Corporation, said, “Kubota is transforming from a trusted equipment provider into a solutions provider. We are well known in the compact equipment market for our versatility, durability, and reliability, and our machines have always been easy to own and easy to operate. Today, they’re evolving to be even more intuitive, putting data and AI directly in the hands of residential equipment owners to enhance their lives and make things easier, more productive, and more efficient.”

Its first time at CES, Kubota also released an immersive video illustrating its vision for bringing autonomous technology and AI together to provide solutions for a residential or small-acreage grower.

Key technologies highlighted in the immersive video include: automatic data collection, real-time monitoring, AI identifying potential issues, automation addressing labor challenges, water management automation, and a data platform enhancing productivity.

Caterpillar displayed the ‘Power of Possible’

Caterpillar demonstrated the Power of Possible at CES 2024. The company’s exhibit highlighted its electric machines and energy solutions, designed to meet the evolving needs of users as they electrify their job sites. 

“We are thrilled to return to CES to showcase our advancements in energy solutions,” said Rod Shurman, senior vice president of Caterpillar’s Electrification + Energy Solutions Division. “This event is renowned as the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators, making it the ideal place for us to demonstrate our leadership in power systems and integrated service solutions, which help our customers in the energy transition.”

CES visitors found two electric machines on display: a zero-exhaust-emission underground loader for mining that includes the industry’s only onboard battery with fast-charging capabilities and a mini excavator.

The exhibit also demonstrated Caterpillar’s broad portfolio of integrated solutions designed to help customers electrify their job sites:

  • On-site power generation — generators capable of running on renewable fuels, solar panels and hydrogen-powered fuel cells
  • Energy storage solutions that work with any combination of diesel, natural gas or renewable energy sources for optimal power
  • Chargers tested and validated to work with equipment on harsh construction and mining sites
  • Rugged battery packs with built-in telematics
  • Inverters that transfer power from a generator or battery to the machine’s electric motor, which in turn delivers optimized power
  • Digital monitoring and advanced analytics that make it easier to operate battery-electric machines and infrastructure
John Deere honored for ‘Operations Center’ cloud platform

John Deere was named a CES 2024 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy category for the John Deere Operations Center Sustainability Tools. This is the fifth consecutive year John Deere has received an Innovation Award from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

The John Deere Operations Center is an opt-in cloud platform that empowers farmers to create optimized work plans, monitor job quality, and analyze and receive insights from data anytime and anywhere.

The platform’s new Sustainability Tools provide farmers with actionable and personalized insights into key aspects of their operations, including carbon intensity, soil health, and fuel emissions, so they can make sustainable decisions to help feed, fuel, and clothe the world. The platform enables farmers to leverage a range of sustainability-focused features, enroll in voluntary revenue-generating programs, and share resulting insights seamlessly with trusted advisors.

“Farmers care deeply about their land and work to manage it sustainably because it’s their livelihood and their legacy,” said Jahmy Hindman, chief technology officer for John Deere. “The new Sustainability Tools within the John Deere Operations Center allow farmers better visibility into their farming practices so they can understand the impact their decisions have on the sustainability of their operations.

“Arable land is not an unlimited resource and these new tools give farmers the ability to make informed decisions that not only benefit themselves, but the next generation of farmers and the world that relies upon them,” Hindman said.

The Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy category of the Innovation Awards highlights nuanced features incorporated into products that facilitate environmentally friendly behavior, like efficient and clean energy use, the reduction of harmful substances, and promotion of renewable resources.

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