Trials for Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future autonomous haul truck (AHT) project began as far back as December 2008.
By April this year the robot army deployed in the Pilbara region of Western Australia had moved 100 million tonnes and traveled more than 1 million kilometers. The autonomous haul trucks are a key component in Rio Tinto’s strategy of employing next-generation technology to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve health, safety and environmental performance.
Rio Tinto expects have more than 40 trucks operating autonomously across three sites in the Pilbara by early 2014. The world’s number two miner is also looking at autonomous drills and trains and has already invested more than $500m in the train project.
This video and animation shows how the system – controlled from Perth some 1,500 km for the sites – works.