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Komatsu Pioneers Autonomous Vehicles for Mining Sites [VIDEO]

We have written about autonomous or driverless vehicles as an early signpost for technology changes in the industry.  Komatsu and Rio Tinto are two names on the forefront of autonomous vehicles in the construction and mining industry.  Komatsu, a Japanese company known around the world for its heavy-duty construction machinery, has made a commitment to developing autonomous heavy vehicles that can be used to improve production and payback on some of the largest sites and mines in the world.  That program is named “FrontRunner”, and it has been deployed to two sites, one in a copper mine in Chile and the second in Australia.

Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest minerals companies, has teamed with Komatsu and is currently using “FrontRunner” dump trucks that can be loaded and driven autonomously on their remote mines in Western Australia.  Each truck can haul up to 320 tons of payload – and they do it without a driver and are directed by a controlling computer located 1,000 miles away.  See these trucks in action in the following 3-minute video published by Komatsu:



The system is designed to be autonomous and to operate 24 hours a day to improve the productivity of the mines and meet the world’s demand for minerals.  This technology is in its infancy and will be introduced on other equipment that we will see on our construction sites in the near future.
 


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