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Rio Tinto Expands Autonomous Truck Fleet to Cut Costs

| January 1, 2018

Autonomous Truck Fleet

Rio Tinto, one of the top mining firms in the world, has been operating a fleet of autonomous trucks in various parts of Australia as part of its operations. Now, the company is now planning to drastically increase the size of the autonomous truck fleet working in Australia’s Pilbara iron-ore region.

The deployment of a larger autonomous truck fleet is part of a broader cost-cutting program that Rio Tinto is pursuing. “We are studying future additions to our autonomous fleet in the Pilbara, based on value, to help deliver our share of $5 billion of additional free cash flow for the company by 2021,” explained Rio Tinto iron ore division CEO Chris Salisbury.

Rio signed deals with Komatsu Ltd and Caterpillar Inc to retrofit 48 trucks with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology. This will be the first time the technology has been deployed on Caterpillar trucks.

After completion, due by the end of 2019, more than 130 of Rio’s Pilbara fleet of almost 400 trucks would be autonomous.

Last year, on average, each of its autonomous haul trucks operated an additional 1000 hours and at 15% lower load and haul unit cost than conventional vehicles

Those are some substantial improvements. Though, without purchase costs factored in, it’s hard to tell exactly how much Rio Tinto is saving through their deployment. Going on the new plans to expand deployment, one would guess a fair amount.

Category: General Update, News

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