Will driverless trucks be the way of the future?

James Petty, General Manager of Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future is banking on that it will be, with trucks, trains and drilling tools will all be automated.

In a bid to increase efficiency and safety while lowering production costs, Rio Tinto, one of our preferred suppliers, launched it’s Mine of the Future program in 2008. Five years on and they appear to have been making steady, significant progress.

Working with a number of partners including the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Rio Tinto has been busy developing AutoHaul, its automated train system. AutoHaul is due to be launched next year and in operation the following year.

100 million tonnes of dirt moved by remote control

According a media release from earlier this year, driverless trucks, following pre-defined routes have now moved more than 100 million tonnes of material out of Rio mines. The intention is to have more than forty autonomous haul trucks (AHT) operating in three sites by early next year.

All this automated gear is still operated by humans, but they’re located back in Perth at the Remote Operations Centre (ROC).

"Our teams managing this equipment recognise the significant opportunity they have to be up-skilled in a mining system which is at the forefront of the global mining industry," says Mr Petty.

The race for increased profitability

Mining giant BHP Billiton also has driverless trucks in mind, announcing that automated, “next generation mining” is a key priority for the company.

In the mining industry, where small degrees of increased productivity or cost saving can translate to a significant bottom line difference, any opportunity to boost profitability is worth exploring.

Heavy haulage is all about the people

In heavy haulage, where no two jobs are ever the same, we actually rely heavily on the skills and experience of our people. And because we’re usually moving large and unusual things around, we need people with all kinds of expertise including trailermen, escort drivers and mechanics.

National Heavy Haulage in Australia stands behind our promise to be professional and reliable mass freight specialists. We’ve built a reputation for delivering the best, most efficient heavy haulage transport service. With a modern, specialist heavy haulage fleet, solid haulage experience and the ability to provide relevant oversize transport permits, your load will be delivered safely every time.


Related Articles

Top 10 qualities of a great truck driver

Life as the King of the Road can provide a rewarding career. But no-one said being in control of a heavy vehicle carrying expensive cargo and meeting critical deadlines was easy. To see if you’re...