Three billion tonnes hauled, not one driver

Caterpillar has accomplished a milestone with three billion tonnes being hauled using its MineStar Command autonomous technology.

Across 17 mine sites and three continents – Australia, North America and South America – the Command autonomous haulage fleet (AHS) has travelled more than the trip required to straight-line from Earth to Mars and back, 110 million kilometres.

Director of Cat’s MineStar solutions Jim Hawkins, said the growth of the Command fleet had been exponential.

“Since surpassing the two billion tonnes milestone, we’ve equipped more mines with Command trucks and have established the world’s first gold mining application with Command for hauling,” Hawkins said.

“Since surpassing one billion tonnes, we’ve expanded our Command fleet by nearly 250 per cent.”

Cat reported its customers benefit from large gains in productivity and lower costs – the former sometimes up to 30 per cent higher.

Vice president of Caterpillar resources industries Marc Cameron said increased efficiency was clearly at the heart of the company’s ideals. With this in mind, he said the next billion tonnes shouldn’t take too long.

“We continue to decrease the time between our major milestone targets because, from initial contract to full deployment, we constantly improve Command implementation efficienc,” Cameron said.

“Consistent with previous milestone trends, we anticipate crossing the 4 billion tonnes threshold at even a faster pace than achieving 3 billion tonnes.

The AHS fleet already includes trucks from 190 to 360 tonnes, with further Cat trucks to be included in the range.

“Looking forward, we are planning the expansion of Command for hauling to include our 140-tonne (150-ton) class Cat 785 mining truck,” Cameron said.

Despite covering millions of kilometres and delivering billions of tonnes of resources, the Command fleet has reported zero lost-time injuries to be associated with the automated vehicles.

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