Caterpillar bets on self-driving machines impervious to pandemics

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Jason Ramshaw, Commercial Manager for Caterpillar Construction Digital & Technology, demonstrates the Cat Command remote control console to operate a 320 excavator at Caterpillar’s Construction Industries

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Question: How can a company like Caterpillar CAT.N try to counter a slump in sales of bulldozers and trucks during a pandemic that has made every human a potential disease vector?

Answer: Cut out human operators, perhaps?

Caterpillar’s autonomous driving technology, which can be bolted on to existing machines, is helping the U.S. heavy equipment maker mitigate the heavy impact of the coronavirus crisis on sales of its traditional workhorses.

With both small and large customers looking to protect their operations from future disruptions, demand has surged for machines that don’t require human operators on board.

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Virus turns caterpillars into zombies using a single gene

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The caterpillar zombies are coming!

Think that zombies are just fiction? Not for caterpillars, it isn’t: there’s actually a virus that can turn healthy caterpillars into zombies.

The biology of the disease is quite fascinating as researchers found that all the virus had to do is modify a single gene in the caterpillar’s genome to turn it into a zombie..

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U.S. Unemployment Remains High While U.S. Companies are Hiring Overseas

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A mechanical engineer working on a marine engine for Caterpillar in Friedrichsort Caterpillar near Kiel, northern Germany.

Why isn’t anyone hiring when corporate profits are up and stock prices are up?

Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

 

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Caterpillar Warns of Danger … With Its Butt!

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Are We In Danger Yet?
Who ever says that scientists are boring? Here’s an interesting finding about how caterpillar evolved a unique method of warning each other of danger:

Some caterpillars drag their back ends along leaves to ward off intruders on their territory. Now it seems this “anal-scraping” – which creates warning vibrations – evolved from walking…

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Caterpillars Utilize Sound and Stench As Defense

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A Very Crafty Caterpillar

Caterpillars of the Great Peacock Moth (Saturnia pyri) are generating quite a buzz lately. A recent study has shown that these giant silkmoth caterpillars are advertising acoustically that they are unpallatable and warn of an upcoming defense strategy.

When disturbed by a would be attacker the caterpillars stridulate by rubbing their mouth parts together, creating broadband chirps spanning from 3.7-55.1 kHz. While it is still unclear who exactly they are advertising to, a predator would be well advised to stay away from their sharp, chemical exuding bristles.

Though is not the first example of sound production in caterpillars it is a novel mechanism, paving the way for future research.

(more pics after jump)

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