The HD division of Hyundai made waves at CES 2024 with a showcase of impressive technology, featuring a full-scale version of its AI-powered Concept X excavator, a glimpse into invisible implement technology, and autonomous hardware poised for mainstream adoption.

The HD Hyundai Concept X excavator, initially revealed as a scale model in 2020, now stands at an impressive 15 feet at CES 2024. This autonomous giant features four articulating “tank feet” powered by electric drive, eliminating the need for a driver’s cab. The focal point is Hyundai’s Xite Transformation technology suite, aimed at addressing critical challenges in construction sites such as safety, security, supply chain issues, and climate change. Young-cheul Cho, President and CEO of HD Hyundai XiteSolution and Hyundai Infracore, emphasizes the transformative vision of Xite Transformation for the future of construction sites.

One of the primary challenges Xite Transformation aims to tackle is the shortage of skilled equipment operators and commercial drivers on construction sites. The concept excavator, with fully electric operation, utilizes electric drive and electric motors to operate the boom arm, reducing reliance on operators. This shift aligns with the permanent cultural change highlighted by Richard Ries at Equipment World, where skilled operators are becoming increasingly rare.

To make operators’ lives easier, HD Hyundai is developing technology allowing operators to “see through” their machine’s metal bucket. Using a suite of sensors, cameras, and monitors, this system projects a digitized image of the bucket’s contents, aiding operators in anticipating loads or identifying potential hazards.

The technology may sound familiar, resembling Valeo’s XtraVue “invisible trailer” system introduced in 2019, which allows drivers to see through whatever they are towing. While there’s skepticism about AI and fully-autonomous equipment fully replacing skilled operators in unpredictable conditions, there is potential for automated equipment to excel in controlled environments, handling repetitive tasks efficiently.

In addition to the Concept X excavator, Hyundai showcased the Concept-X2 autonomous dozer, claiming it is nearly production-ready. Based on the Hyundai Develon DD100, this driverless construction machine marks Hyundai’s entry into the autonomous machine category, hinting at the future of advanced and automated construction equipment.

By Impact Lab