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Engineering & Construction

Japanese self-driving construction gear finds own way without GPS

Builder Taisei seeks labor-saving tech for tunnels and other remote locations

Taisei's T-iDraw Map technology uses lasers to plot an image of the vehicle's surroundings. (Photo courtesy of Taisei)

TOKYO -- One of Japan's biggest civil engineering groups has developed a navigation system for construction vehicles that does not rely on GPS or other satellite positioning data, allowing them to guide themselves in remote places.

Tokyo-based Taisei's technology, which uses laser sensors to make three-dimensional maps of a vehicle's surroundings, is thought to be the first of its kind developed in Japan. Its industry peers at home have made their own forays into autonomous-driving technology, but they rely on signals in the sky to guide their vehicles.

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