Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd., a wholly owned Hitachi Construction Machinery subsidiary, and autonomous vehicle software company Oxbotica Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a world-first ‘Open Autonomy’ solution for the mining industry. Initial trials are currently underway, and the two companies are actively recruiting mining partners with suitable testing grounds.
The advanced technology will provide customers flexibility and efficiency in autonomous mining deployment, allowing them to operate any open standard-based vehicle and integrate it into an existing fleet. The system will help meet growing demand with the number of autonomous haulage trucks expected to increase by more than 300 per cent globally by 2023, according to a release from Wenco.
Both companies support an open and interoperable ecosystem of partners that integrate solutions alongside existing mine infrastructure. They believe this provides customers with the greatest flexibility and control for integrating new solutions while reducing associated risks and costs.
This approach also notably avoids vendor lock-in and offers customers the freedom to choose preferred technologies, independent of their primary industrial systems. Furthermore, it enables highly skilled autonomy suppliers that may be new to mining to integrate with customers’ existing operations while backed by a proven expert in the industry.
“We are very excited to be collaborating with Oxbotica,” said Andrew Pyne, Wenco president and CEO. “We are confident that combining Oxbotica’s proven capability in autonomy with our three decades worth of experience in interoperable fleet management systems for large mining customers enables us to create the industry’s first full-function open autonomy platform.
“Regardless of the strategies of other industrial autonomy vendors, Wenco and Oxbotica believe firmly in the principle of open systems and consider it the primary way to bring about our joint goals of widespread adoption of autonomous technology and safer, more productive industrial operations. Our joint platform will allow customers to choose any open standards-based vehicle and integrate it into their existing operations,” he said.
“We strongly believe an Open Autonomy architecture that enables new and innovative entrants, like Oxbotica, to join and speed up autonomy adoption will be beneficial for the whole industry,” added Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Oxbotica. “Together with Wenco, we would like to accelerate the adoption of autonomy in mining, making it much easier for mine operators to deploy autonomous technologies and enjoy the benefits.”