Caterpillar developing autonomous mining fleet

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Caterpillar and Rio Tinto are working together to provide a fleet of autonomous mining trucks.

The two firms have signed an agreement to retrofit 19 Cat 793F vehicles for driverless operation at the Marandoo iron ore mine in Western Australia. 

Cat Command hauling software will be installed on the trucks, with the first few being equipped and ready for operation by the middle of the year, with the project expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Rio Tinto in installing their first Cat autonomous haulage system,” said Jean Savage, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the Surface Mining & Technology Division.

“Working with WesTrac, we look forward to helping Rio Tinto enhance operations with our proven mining technology.”

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said, “We are proud to have partnered with Caterpillar for 50 years and are excited about starting this new chapter in our automation story. This project with Caterpillar accelerates deployment of autonomous haulage via retrofit in our Pilbara operations and helps meet our objectives of making our operations safer and more productive.”

January 19, 2018

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter who keeps him busy.

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