Since August 2018 Swedish truck manufacturer Scania, and Australian mining company Rio Tinto, have been trialling autonomous trucks at the Dampier Salt operations in Western Australia.
The trial involves a Scania XT 8×4 tipper truck, and while it is working on-site, it is working separately from other trucks. In phase one of the trial a safety driver is in the cabin, observing, and intervening if necessary. In later phases of the trial additional Scania trucks will be added, and test ‘vehicle-vehicle awareness and intelligent fleet supervisory controls’.
‘We’re pleased to be trialling this technology in trucks that are smaller than our traditional haul trucks. This has the potential to give us more flexibility in the way we operate in a number of areas across Rio Tinto. We have seen automation create safer and more efficient operations in our business and this is a next step in evaluating options for delivering further improvements through the use of technology,’ said Rio Tinto head of Productivity & Technical Support, Rob Atkinson.
Björn Winblad, Head of Scania Mining said, ‘Mining sites given their high vehicle utilisation rates are ideal for testing new autonomous technology. The industry can reap the safety and productivity benefits of automation, and the experience gained here will be instrumental in developing fully autonomous solutions for other transport applications. It is very encouraging to note that the truck has been performing in a safe manner and in accordance with expectations with regards to the operations.’
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