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By Shane Lasley
Metal Tech News 

500 giant driverless Cat mining trucks

Caterpillar celebrates major autonomous equipment milestone Metal Tech News - February 4, 2022

 

Last updated 2/15/2022 at 3:04pm

Caterpillar haul truck mining autonomous vehicle MINExpo 500 Cats globally video

Shane Lasley

A Cat 794 AC autonomous mining truck with a payload capacity of 327 tons (654,000 pounds) on display at MINExpo 2021, a mining convention held last September in Las Vegas.

A two-story-tall mining truck hauling more than half a million pounds of rock may not seem like the best choice for perfecting the science of autonomous travel. As it turns out, however, mines provide an ideal controlled testing ground for autonomous vehicles, and Caterpillar Inc. has been at the forefront of pioneering autonomous haulage systems for mining operations around the world.

This revolutionary work has resulted in an exciting new mining technologies milestone for the famed manufacturer of the "yellow iron" that moves unfathomable quantities of dirt at mines and construction sites every year.

"More than 500 autonomous trucks are running globally to support our customer's operations," Caterpillar Group President Denise Johnson announced in a Feb. 3 LinkedIn post.

Caterpillar says this impressive milestone is a direct result of its unwavering commitment to working directly with its customers to develop technologies that make dirt-moving more efficient, effective, sustainable, and safer.

"Our engineering teams look to the future when developing onboard technology, and we partner with our customers to ensure our products and services are tailored to achieve our customers' specific business goals and meet the industry's most pressing needs," Caterpillar penned in a Feb. 3 announcement of the 500 autonomous truck milestone.

Going into 2022, customers using Cat Command autonomous technology had safely hauled more than 4 billion metric tons of material and traveled more than 90 million miles (145 million kilometers), which is equivalent to more than 3,600 trips around Earth.

Caterpillar's engineers have been working toward these achievements for the better part of three decades.

In 1994, Caterpillar ran the first two prototype Cat 777C autonomous mining trucks at a Texas limestone quarry, where they successfully hauled more than 5,000 production loads over a 2.6-mile-long course.

Having tested this cutting-edge technology at the Texas quarry, Caterpillar unveiled its autonomous truck with a live demonstration for MINExpo guests in 1996.

From there, the Cat fleet of autonomous mining trucks has steadily grown.

"Having 500 driverless trucks in operation across the globe is tangible evidence of our ability to innovate and a clear indication of Caterpillar's commitment to the future of mining," Johnson said.

Sites like the Texas quarry and large metal mines make ideal locales for developing and perfecting autonomous driving technologies – they provide a controlled environment with predictable routes and traffic patterns. As driverless technologies and collision avoidance systems become more advanced, autonomous vehicles are beginning to enter global highways and other industrial worksites that pose more variables.

Today, Caterpillar says its autonomous trucks are safer and deliver up to 30% better performance than human-operated haulers.

With the autonomous advancements it has made at mine sites, Caterpillar says it is ready to expand its driverless technology to the trucks, dozers, excavators, compactors, and other equipment used by roadbuilders and other dirt moving industries beyond mining.

"Using leading-edge technology to help customers build a safer, better world? That's how we roll," Caterpillar said in celebration of its more the 500 autonomous Cat trucks rolling at mine sites on three continents.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

With more than 14 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 907-726-1095
https://www.facebook.com/metaltechnews/

 

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