Leica Equips Gen. 8 Liebherr Excavators with Semi-automatic Features

Operators of Liebherr Generation 8 crawler excavators can now automate a range of tasks and processes, from grading to bucket rotation control. The solution is factory installed during production.


Liebherr, with Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon, offers various machine control systems for hydraulic excavators. Machine control systems are driver assistance systems that support construction projects and processes.

Liebherr is now extending its range of machine control systems for its Generation 8 crawler excavator models.

Semi-automatic Machine Control

The availability of semi-automatic machine control systems, both 2D "3D-ready" and 3D, has been extended to Generation 8 crawler excavators; they are now available for the R 922, R 924, R 926, R 928, R 930, R 934, R 938 and R 945 models. The 2D "3D-ready" passive machine control system is also offered for these models.

The respective equipment variants are available from Liebherr ex works. All machine control components from Leica Geosystems are installed during the production process and the customer receives a pre-calibrated machine.

Depending on the situation and requirements on the construction site, Liebherr offers the right machine control system for every application. Whereas with a passive system, machine operators have to follow the indications on the display in the cab and operate the machine themselves to complete the job, the semi-automatic machine control system provides active support with a semi-automated removal mode. The machine operator must only control the machine's stick movements and speed via the joystick. The system automatically adjusts the correct movement of all the equipment to create the target profile.

Generation 8 machines with a passive machine control system can be retrofitted with a semi-automatic system by means of a corresponding software package at the customer's request, provided that they are equipped with a Master 5 Premium.

Variants of Machine Control Systems

2D or 3D machine control systems from Leica Geosystems provide the machine operator with information about the height and inclination of the machine as well as the corresponding position via the display in the operator's cab.

While a 2D machine control system is designed for working from flat and sloping surfaces, a 3D machine control system uses reference models and GNSS to guide the machine operator. Through 3D GNSS positioning in conjunction with 3D model data, all information on excavation and removal as well as the machine's position on the construction site is visible in real time.

With the 2D "3D-ready" variant, work can be done immediately in 2D, either passively or semi-automatically depending on the purchased option. A 2D control can be subsequently upgraded to a fully-fledged 3D machine control system at any time.

IRONPROS Perspective

Semi-autonomous is the path to fully autonomous construction machines. While most autonomous solutions for construction equipment consist of aftermarket and retrofit products, this is one is not. Factory-installed innovations show a deeper commitment to the technology by equipment manufacturers, in this case Liebherr. This also highlights the reliable nature of the Leica machine control system for excavators.

Now let's take a closer look at the machine control technology. The machine control system automates basic, repetitive tasks and processes on the excavator, such as grading. This makes operation and results more consistent, reducing operator fatigue throughout the day. It can also minimize error, protecting surfaces in the design from accidental contact with the excavator bucket.

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