Autonomous Hauling Is Here

Autonomous vehicles are in mines today. Companies are now testing how autonomous mine-haul trucking could improve construction and operations in mines.

This comes at an interesting time too, as the mining sector is in the midst of a technological revolution with both automation and smart technologies becoming more common. This will help boost productivity and improve safety.

Autonomous Haulage Systems

Diving specifically into one area, autonomous haulage systems (AHS) were commercialized for mining by manufacturers such as Komatsu, according to Future Market Insights. These vehicles have a wireless network system, a high precision GPS system, vehicle controllers and obstacle detectors. Komatsu’s AHS soon gained popularity due to the ability to operate safely throughout a complicated load, haul and dump cycle.

Another recent example comes from Wenco and Hitachi Construction Machinery, which recently trialed an autonomous haulage program. Hitachi Construction Machinery purchased Wenco in 2009, and has been working closely with Wenco to leverage “Dynamic Dispatch” fleet dispatch automation software to enable dispatch of autonomous haul trucks.

At the end of 2017, a successful trial of three self-driving trucks was completed in a mine in Queensland, Australia, demonstrating how autonomous trucks can be used in mines.

Going forward, construction companies can expect more automated equipment and vehicles on mining projects, helping complete tasks quickly and safely.

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