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By Shane Lasley
Metal Tech News 

Self-driving Cat trucks speed past milestone

Metal Tech News - September 22, 2022


Last updated 9/27/2022 at 10:23am

A view from inside the cab of an autonomous Cat mining truck.

Caterpillar Inc.

Cat autonomous trucks have traveled 124.3 million miles, the average distance to Mars, without a lost-time injury.

Autonomous Cat mining trucks surpass 5 billion metric ton mark

Accelerating at an accelerating rate, Caterpillar Inc.'s mighty mining trucks have now autonomously hauled 5 billion metric tons of material at mines around the globe. This self-driving milestone comes just nine months after the "Yellow Iron" manufacturer reported that its trucks equipped with Cat MineStar Command for hauling surpassed the 4-billion-metric-ton mark.

Currently, more than 550 mining trucks are equipped with Command for autonomous hauling, operating across three continents.

"In 2013, we placed our first fleets of autonomous trucks in Western Australia at FMG Solomon and BHP Jimblebar. Since that time, trucks using Command for hauling have safely traveled nearly 200 million km (124.3 million mi), more than twice the experience in autonomous operations of any automobile manufacturer," said Caterpillar Resource Industries President Denise Johnson.

What is more impressive than the fact these Cat mining trucks have traveled roughly the average distance between Earth and Mars is that they have accomplished this feat with zero loss-time injuries.

This track record has more mining operations adding self-driving Cat trucks to their fleet.

"Caterpillar has grown the number of autonomous trucks in operation by 40% in the past two years," Johnson added. "We believe that automation is one of many keys to implement technology that unlocks the value miners need when it comes to the energy transition toward more sustainable operations."

Caterpillar currently offers autonomous trucks with 190 to 370 metric tons of hauling capacity but is adding to its self-driving lineup.

"In 2023, we will expand Command for hauling to the 139-tonne (153-ton) truck class at ioneer Ltd.'s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron mine. This is the first greenfield project in North America to use an AHS (autonomous haulage system)," says Sean McGinnis, vice president and general manager for Cat Mining. "We are now seeing a shift toward autonomy requested on new Cat trucks. Whereas large mines with fleet sizes of more than 70 trucks were the early adopters of the technology, we are seeing economic viability for autonomy at smaller mines with a fleet of less than 15 trucks."

Computer monitors provide operators with information on autonomous trucks.

Caterpillar Inc.

With a bank of screens, a technician monitors mining trucks equipped with Cat MineStar Command for hauling.

More information on ioneer's agreement for a fleet of Cat autonomous trucks at its coming Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine in Nevada can be read at Autonomous trucks at ioneer lithium mine in the September 15, 2022 edition of Metal Tech News.

The global equipment manufacturer sees the trend toward smaller mines continuing to quarry and aggregate operations.

In addition to expanding its fleet of new autonomous trucks, Caterpillar offers retrofit kits that allow miners to expand Command for hauling to existing Cat mining trucks.

Continuing its accelerating rate of acceleration, Caterpillar anticipates that 1.4 billion metric tons of material will be hauled with autonomous Cat trucks in 2022, eclipsing the previous record for autonomous haulage in a single year.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

With more than 15 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


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