CATERPILLAR is developing autonomous mining truck technology for an expanded range of models, including other brands. At a recent Cat MineStar™ Command for hauling demonstration at the company’s facility in Arizona, USA, Caterpillar announced a project to adapt hardware and software for retrofitting the Komatsu 930E mining truck with Cat autonomous technology. This interoperability initiative is driven by the goal of mining companies to reduce mining costs using existing fleets.
|A Cat autonomous truck stages for loading as the shovel completes loading another 793F CMD at the Caterpillar test facility in Arizona.|
“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” said Caterpillar’s Command for hauling product manager Sean McGinnis. “And many mining companies operate mixed fleets of trucks. Developing autonomous systems for other brands of trucks will enable us to offer a total solution to these customers.”
Additionally, Caterpillar is expanding the number of Cat truck models fitted for autonomous operation. The autonomous arrangement of the 797F, the largest of the Cat line with 363-tonnes payload capacity, is now being tested. Other models are being evaluated as Caterpillar works with mining companies seeking ways to lower cost per ton and enhance safety.
The new Cat autonomous trucks will join the proven Cat 793F CMD in the autonomous mining truck line. A large fleet of the 227-tonne-capacity trucks has achieved a 20% productivity advantage over standard trucks working in an Australian iron ore mine. Also, the fleet and support staff have achieved zero lost time injuries since the first trucks started operating more than 3.5 years ago.
In keeping with the retrofit trend, several of the current global fleet of 70 Cat 793F autonomous trucks have been retrofitted to operate autonomously.