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New mine vehicle automation project approved

Komatsu Toyota driverless vehicles
Komatsu and Toyota driverless vehicles

Autonomous and automotive manufacturing multinationals will develop new driverless technology.

Komatsu and the Toyota Motor Corporation recently revealed they would make autonomous light vehicles for mine sites.

The companies will jointly design, construct and supply automated pickup trucks that run on Komatsu’s new autonomous haulage system (AHS). This is promised to save time and money through minimising defensive driving.

“Haulage trucks using an AHS are already in use in mine sites but, when they share roads with manual light vehicles like those used for maintenance or transport, they may decrease their speed or stop when passing to avoid possible collisions caused by human error,” the Komatsu said in a public statement.

“This impacts [on] overall productivity in mines.”

A concept pickup truck is already being tested with a proof of concept expected to be delivered to customers sometime in January 2024.

“Since 2008 we have have rolled out 650 driverless trucks at 22 mine sites around the world. Our AHS has a proven track record in delivering enhanced productivity and lower operating costs, with safety as the highest priority,” Komatsu executive general manager mining Leo Kaloglou said.

“Komatsu and Toyota are also collaborating on hydrogen fuel cell technologies to be featured on medium sized hydraulic excavators, which will support our journey towards a 50 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050,” Komatsu managing director Sean Taylor added.

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