Cat autonomous trucks hit one billion tonne milestone

Cat mining trucks working within the MineStar Command for hauling automation solution have reached one billion tonnes hauled.

Caterpillar’s fleet of Command for hauling autonomous trucks has grown to more than 150 machines with six different companies since the first six were launched in 2013.

The trucks operate in the iron ore, copper and oil sands sectors. In Australia, a fleet of 70 Cat autonomous trucks has achieved productivity increases of 30 per cent for users.

Caterpillar’s autonomous truck fleet, which also operates in South America and North America, is primarily composed of 793F trucks, which carry a 227-tonne payload.

The company has expanded its range, having developed and deployed autonomous Cat 797F (363 tonnes payload) and Cat 789D (181 tonnes payload) trucks. It has also developed a retrofit kit for another brand of trucks.

Caterpillar Mining Technology product manager Sean McGinnis said the value of Command for hauling for mining companies was reflected in the rate at which the Cat autonomous fleet achieved this milestone.

“The fleet is growing quickly and production continues to climb as mining companies benefit from greater truck productivity, increased truck utilisation, consistent truck operation and reduced costs,” McGinnis said.

“In the process of hauling one billion tonnes, the autonomous trucks travelled nearly 35 million kilometres.

“No lost time injuries have been attributed to Cat autonomous haulage. Command for hauling has demonstrated how it enhances safety by eliminating truck operating errors and by reducing the number of people working in the active mining area.”

Caterpillar debuted its first autonomous mining truck at MINExpo in 1996. The company was an early adopter of GPS guidance technology and had success with it on a number of applications, according to Cat MineStar chief engineer Michael Murphy.

“At that time, Caterpillar focused on developing the building blocks for automation. These technologies are now the core of MineStar capabilities, which assist onboard operators and enable tele-remote, semi-autonomous and autonomous machine operation,” Murphy said.