Remote control is often considered as a means of utilization when operating hydraulic mobile machines in hazardous environments. However, in some cases remote control may also improve the general usability of the machine, which is a good reason for using remote control also in normal (safe) work tasks. In this paper the effects of remote control on the usability of a hydraulic excavator were studied by means of two experiments. A group of subjects carried out two tasks which were related to digging soil with obstacles and controlling the excavator accurately. A remotely controlled hydraulic mobile machine with an excavator and a hand-held remote control with vibro-tactile haptic feedback were utilized as a test platform. The arrangements for the experiments are introduced and the results presented in this paper. The results show that short-range remote control may improve the usability of the hydraulic excavator significantly in some work tasks.

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