Caterpillar trucks equipped with Cat MineStar Command have made mining history by autonomously hauling approximately 1.2 billion tonnes of material in 2021.
This brings the total material autonomously and safely hauled using Command for hauling trucks to more than four billion tonnes since 2013.
To date, trucks equipped with Caterpillar’s autonomous haulage system (AHS) have travelled more than 147 million kilometres with zero lost-time injuries, nearly the same distance as travelling from the Earth to the sun.
“Safety and sustainability continue to be top values in the mining industry. We are now entering our ninth year with zero lost-time injuries with Command for hauling, a testament to its safety record,” Caterpillar Resource Industries vice president Marc Cameron said.
“A recent five-year study by one of our customers autonomously hauling iron ore reported an 11 per cent reduction in fuel usage – resulting in a 4300 tonne-per-year CO2 emissions reduction – 11 per cent increase in hourly production, 50 per cent higher maximum truck travel speed, and 35 per cent improved tire life.”
The Command hardware and technology is currently deployed on the Cat 789D autonomous water truck (AWT) at Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the world’s first AWT.
Connected with Cat MineStar technology, Command for hauling on the 789D integrates the truck, tank and water delivery system.
The Cat water delivery system delivers variable waterflow based on truck speed, and the system’s variable displacement pump automatically starts and stops when the truck slows or comes to a halt, preventing overwatering and poor traction at intersections.
“We continue to explore new avenues with Command for hauling to make strides toward the fully autonomous mine site and recently surpassed a major milestone of more than 500 autonomous trucks,” Cat Mining general manager Sean McGinnis said.
“We currently have in progress high-altitude and new product introduction projects for the smaller 89-tonne size class. We have also expanded our Command system to Cat water trucks for haul road dust control at the mine.”
Spanning the 190- to 360-tonne class sizes, the portfolio of Cat mining trucks capable of fully autonomous operation include the 789D, 793D, 793F, 797F and 794 AC with electric drive.
Retrofit kits allow mining operations to expand Command for hauling to existing Cat mining trucks as well as other brands of trucks and loading equipment in the fleet.
Autonomous trucks equipped with Command for hauling are operating at 18 mine sites by 10 companies across three continents, with the commodities autonomously hauled including iron ore, oil sands, copper, coal and gold.