Fortescue defends autonomous system after trucks collide

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed that an autonomous truck at its Christmas Creek iron mine in the Pilbara has reversed into a stationary truck.

The autonomous truck made contact with the parked truck on February 11 and caused no injuries.

Fortescue stated last Friday that the collision was not a failure of its autonomous haulage systems (AHS) and that a full investigation was being conducted.

“Safety is Fortescue’s highest priority and our autonomous haulage system has improved the safety and productivity of our operations,” said Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines.

“No manned vehicles or people were involved and no team members were injured or were at risk of being injured. This was not the result of any failure of the autonomous system.

“Since the introduction of the first AHS truck at Solomon in 2012, AHS trucks have safely travelled over 24.7 million kilometres.”

Fortescue is a purveyor of autonomous technology at its mine sites, having introduced its first autonomous trucks in 2013 at the Solomon Hub mine in Western Australia.

Thiess won an 18-month contract in November last year to convert at least 65 conventional haul trucks into autonomous haul trucks at Christmas Creek.

Fortescue is also converting around 100 trucks at the Chichester Hub mine (also in WA), which is poised to become the first iron ore mine in the world with a fully autonomous fleet.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.