Caterpillar‘s fleet of autonomous trucks set to expand

2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 27, 2017

An autonomous truck in use at Solomon Hub. Photo supplied by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.

 Caterpillar has announced the expansion of a deal it has with Australia‘s Fortescue Metals Group, which has ordered 100 mining trucks be retrofitted with Cat‘s autonomous Command system at its Chichester Hub as well as additional trucks at its Solomon Hub. Both operations are located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Command is a suite of autonomy technology solutions offering everything from remote control to semi-autonomous operation to fully autonomous mining systems, with technologies and solutions designed to meet site-specific needs.

Fortescue has successfully deployed CAT autonomous haulage technology (AHS) at the Solomon Hub since 2012, achieving a 20% improvement in productivity. Sophisticated on-board intelligence and advanced guidance technologies make it possible for these 227-tonne trucks to manoeuvre through mine-site traffic, back into loading points and navigate to dump sites – all without human intervention.

The new deal with Cat will see more 793F trucks entering the fleet at the Solomon Hub, while the Chichester Hub will get 793F and Komatsu 930E models.

Cat have been working on developing autonomous mining truck technology for an expanded range of models, including other brands, which keeps mining companies‘ operating costs down by allowing them to use their existing fleets.

“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” said Sean McGinnis, product manager, Command for hauling. “And many mining companies operate mixed fleets of trucks. Developing autonomous systems for other brands of trucks will enable us to offer a total solution to these customers.”