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Location of new hub for driverless truck training revealed

Caterpillar driverless truck
Caterpillar driverless truck

A construction machinery dealer has chosen an industrial area near a Western Australian coal mine to teach proponents how to use autonomous truck technology.

WesTrac recently confirmed it would build its Caterpillar Autonomous Training Facility at Coolangatta Industrial Estate in Collie, 68km east of Bunbury.

The site, which is near the northwestern end of Premier Coal’s Collie Open Cut Coal Mine, will be used to test and train people in how to use the fully autonomous Cat 789D off-highway truck with an autonomous operations zone and training room facility.

“The initial focus will be to provide training in fit out and maintenance requirements for the conversion and operation of existing Caterpillar haulage vehicles,” WesTrac CEO Jarvas Croome said in a public statement. “Over time, we anticipate expanding the range of courses on offer to ensure the facility caters for the recognised skills of the future that will be in demand as the resource sector evolves.”

Work begins

Mining services company Piacentini and Son won the tender to perform the earthworks and install key infrastructure at the facility, which is promised to be only one of two in the world only second to Caterpillar’s existing US facility in Arizona.

Construction will start before the end of January and the first round of training will begin just four months after.

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“The town has a long mining history and an experienced workforce with the potential to help run and develop the training facility over time,” Croome said.

The project received a Collie Futures Fund grant from the WA Government’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

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