The development of the continuous gas laser has made possible a new method of automatic grade controls for construction equipment. This method of control has advantages offered by no other system: accuracy, reduced operator skill requirements, reduced direct labor costs, and night operation.
Developed originally for draintube plow and motor grader control, laser grade control systems now control various machines, such as ditchers, scrapers, landplanes, dozers, and trimmers, Several manufacturers now offer automatic laser grade controls as original factory equipment.
Laser controls offered on the market to date are limited to operation in planes. Equipment to control both vertical and horizontal curves is presently under development for machines such as trimmers and pavers. With such controls, it will be possible to generate very complex surfaces with accuracies not now possible.