Komatsu lunar construction equipment proposal selected for Japan’s utilisation of space technology programme

Staff Report,

30 Jan 2022

Machinery giant to conduct feasibility study for developing high-precision digital twin technology under Japanese ministerial initiative

Komatsu lunar construction equipment proposal selected for Japan’s utilisation of space technology programme

A technology proposal from Komatsu regarding development of construction equipment to be used on the moon has been selected by Japanese government agencies as an eligible target of the country’s “Technology related to Autonomous Construction (Automation and Remote Control)” under its programme for the utilisation of space technology.

Komatsu said in a statement that it had applied for the request for proposal concerning the “Project for Promoting the Development of Innovative Technologies for Outer Space Autonomous Construction” leadmanaged by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) with collaboration by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The project was decided by the MLIT last year as part of its Strategic Program for Accelerating Research, Development and Utilisation of Space Technology (Stardust Program).

Explaining its proposal, titled Development of Digital Twin Technology for Lunar Construction Equipment, Komatsu said that because it’s complicated to approach actual objects on the moon's surface, it believes that digital twin technology is essential, precisely recreating site conditions and machines. To develop this technology, Komatsu will conduct a feasibility study to verify the possibility of developing high-precision digital twin technology, the basic technology of lunar construction equipment.

Specifically, Komatsu will create and operate a hydraulic excavator in cyberspace and compare its movements with actual equipment on Earth to verify the simulator's precision. Komatsu will also set the surface conditions of the moon as cyberspace and check the movements of the excavator in the simulator in order to identify the issues facing lunar equipment.

In an ongoing three-year, mid-term management plan, to be completed in the fiscal year ending March 31, Komatsu is working to achieve safe, highly productive, smart, and clean workplaces of the future by advancing products and technologies, such as automation and autonomy of machines, and processes like optimisation of construction operations. Concerning the selected Development of Digital Twin Technology for Lunar Construction Equipment, Komatsu said it will utilise accumulated technologies in both products and processes.

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