Rio expanding driverless truck fleet

Rio Tinto is preparing to deploy eight more driverless trucks on its iron ore operations in Western Australia.

ABC News reports Rio's Pilbara operations president Greg Lilleyman told a Perth conference last week the company was on track to expand its driverless fleet.


Rio currently has five autonomous trucks operational at the Nammuldi mine, and Lilleyman said five more were scheduled to be delivered on site over the coming weeks.


He also said another three trucks were being assembled for Hope Downs 4, which will eventually operate around 19 driverless trucks.


“Our autonomous truck program is well advanced, we currently have three mines operating with autonomous trucks; the Yandi pit fully operational, our Nammuldi mine is now operational with autonomous trucks, and our Hope Downs 4 mines has trucks under assembly as we speak,” he said.


BHP Billiton's Tony Ottaviano also said BHP was progressing with its automation technology, and a trial project was already underway in the Pilbara.


“We are now setting up our Jimblebar autonomous trial, that's now moved into execution, we will have 12 trucks in a production environment running the Caterpillar autonomy system combined with the caterpillar fleet management system,” he said.


The updates come as global miners continue to look toward autonomous vehicles to help improve productivity and cut costs.


According to a study released last week 50 per cent of international executives believe “substituting technology for labour” will have a positive impact on their business this year.

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