TUSCON, AZ — Marking another industry first for autonomous haulage, mining companies have now hauled more than three billion metric tons of materials leveraging Komatsu’s FrontRunner autonomous haulage system (AHS).
Working closely with its customers, Komatsu teams developed the first commercially available autonomous haulage system to help mines move material more efficiently. First deployed in 2008 at CODELCO’s Gabriela Mistral (Gaby) copper mine in Chile, AHS brings together some of the world’s best-selling, ultra-class dump trucks with Modular Mining Systems’ DISPATCH fleet management system.
Today’s FrontRunner system operates around the clock, hauling copper, iron ore, oil sands and coal at 11 customer sites across three continents. At the end of June 2020, there were 251 trucks in operation, with an additional 100 (mainly from installing AHS retrofit kits) planned to deploy within FY2020.
“Our mining customers’ ongoing investment in technology and equipment to transition to autonomous haulage underscores the value the system provides,” said Toshio Kurokawa, general manager of marketing department, Mining Business Division, Komatsu. “We are gratified to have helped our customers save hundreds of millions of dollars while autonomously moving another billion metric tons of essential minerals and driving for zero harm. We are also honored that autonomous haulage has been a valuable resource to help our customers mitigate risks associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
The FrontRunner system is designed to enable manually operated equipment (such as loaders, dozers, graders, light vehicles, etc.) to seamlessly interact in an autonomous truck environment. Komatsu recently introduced system functionality to enable manual haul trucks to also operate with the autonomous trucks. To further support the growth of autonomy in mining for its customers, Komatsu is leading initiatives within ISO to develop standards for interoperability between Komatsu and non-Komatsu autonomous vehicles.