Technology will – ‘someday’ – reach the point when cranes will respond reliably to voice recognition. An operator will issue commands to a crane via a headset and an onboard crane device. That, at least, is the view of Dan Mihalcak, director of US sales for Cattron-Theimeg.

It would be hard to argue with anything Mihalcak could say about crane control technology. Cattron-Theimeg is a leading manufacturer of remote control systems. However, there is a world of difference between what technology can make possible and what technology can make better. A voice activated crane brings no improvement to anyone’s life.

Control depends entirely on the ability of the operator to issue instructions which are 100% lacking in ambiguity. This is not easy. Think how difficult communication between banksman and operator so often is. It will be easier to control a dog than a voice-operated crane, for a dog shares with man an animal intelligence. A machine, no matter how intelligent, only has inanimate intelligence.

A voice-activated crane may do as it is told, but will do no more, no less.

Wouldn’t it be easier and safer to control the crane via a tangible control panel, rather than to rely on the crane to second guess its way through man’s lack of ability to master the art of precise articulation?