Will driverless truck become the norm?
Unmanned Cargo Delivery Concept – Chronicle 19
Rio Tinto shifts to driverless trucks in Australia (October 19, 2015)
The Rio Tinto mining company certainly thinks so. Similar in scope (but not necessarily in size) to the Daimler Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz Actros autonomous truck concepts, the British-Australian mining group currently operates a fleet of 69 automated trucks collectively moving approximately 20 million tons of iron ore per month at the Yandicoogina and Nammuldi mine sites in Pilbara, Western Australia. By eliminating breaks, shift changes and absenteeism, their “autonomous fleet outperforms its manned fleet by an average of 12 percent”, states their iron ore chief executive, Andrew Harding. Automatization improves utilization efficiency and thus reduces haulage costs and capital expenditure costs. Industry insiders estimate each autonomous mining truck can save 500 work hours per year.
Official Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) / Drone Name:
Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), part of the Rio Tinto “Mine of the Future” program launched back in 2008.
In operation, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Remotely supervised by a control center 1,200 km (750 miles) away in Perth, Australia. The autonomous trucks depend on GPS directions, Lidar and millimeter wave radar to deliver their loads.
Autonomous Haulage Systems are here to stay as the world’s biggest miners turn to technology to cut costs and increase profits. These unmanned trucks will be used in cooperation with Rio Tinto’s “AutoHaul”, their fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance railway system in which they have currently invested US$518 million, as well as a fleet of Rio Tinto UAVs to monitor mining sites and inspect equipment. Rio Tinto’s competitors, BHP Billiton and Fortescue, are also testing and deploying driverless trucks.
- Rio Tinto (website)