Caterpillar is developing autonomous mining truck technology for an expanded range of models, including other brands. At a Cat® MineStar™ Command for hauling demonstration earlier this year in Arizona, a project was announced to adapt hardware and software for retrofitting the Komatsu 930E mining truck with Cat autonomous technology. This interoperability initiative is driven by mining companies’ goal of reducing mining costs using their existing fleets.
“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” says Sean McGinnis, Command for hauling product manager. “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.”
“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 (400 tons) 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 (250-ton) trucks has achieved a 20 percent 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.