Caterpillar’s autonomous trucks have hauled over one billion tonnes since the first few trucks were launched in 2013.
The company currently boasts a fleet of over 150 autonomous machines operating across the projects of six companies, with a fleet of 70 servicing sites across Australia.
The fleet prominently features the new autonomous Cat 797F, boasting a 363 tonne payload, and the Cat 789D truck, with a 181 tonne payload.
Sean McGinnis, Cat product manager, said that “the fleet is growing quickly and production continues to climb as mining companies benefit from greater truck productivity, increased truck utilisation, consistent truck operation and reduced costs.”
“In the process of hauling one billion tonnes, the autonomous trucks travelled nearly 35 million kilometres,” McGinnis said.
Mr McGinnis praised command, highlighting its ability to demonstrate the extensive safety and production value that the machines offer.
“Command for hauling has demonstrated how it enhances safety by eliminating truck operating errors and by reducing the number of people working in the active mining area.”
“No lost time injuries have been attributed to Cat autonomous haulage.”
Chris Salisbury, Rio Tinto’s chief executive of Iron Ore chief said, “We are proud to have partnered with Caterpillar for 50 years and are excited about starting this new chapter in our automation story.
“...Caterpillar accelerates deployment of autonomous haulage via retrofit in our Pilbara operations and helps meet our objectives of making our operations safer and more productive.”
The company’s focus and innovation in the autonomous vehicle space has a long history, with Caterpillar debuting its very first first autonomous mining truck back in 1996 at the MINExpo.
According to Michael Murphy from Cat MineStar, the company was one of the first to adopt GPS guidance technology.
“At that time, Caterpillar focused on developing the building blocks for automation. These technologies are now the core of MineStar capabilities, which assist onboard operators and enable tele-remote, semi-autonomous and autonomous machine operation,” Mr Murphy said.
In Australia, Caterpillar’s fleet has been credited with delivering a 30% productivity increase for its users.
Source: Australian Mining & Caterpillar