Cat mining trucks working within MineStar Command for hauling recently reached a milestone of one billion tonnes hauled. Caterpillar deployed the first six commercial autonomous trucks in 2013, and the fleet has now grown to more than 150 with six different mining companies operating Command for hauling in iron ore, copper and oil sands.
"Command for hauling has proven its value to mining customers," said Sean McGinnis, product manager, Caterpillar Mining Technology. "That value is reflected in the rate at which the Cat autonomous fleet achieved this milestone. The fleet is growing quickly and production continues to climb as mining companies benefit from greater truck productivity, increased truck utilization, consistent truck operation and reduced costs.
"In the process of hauling one billion tonnes, the autonomous trucks traveled nearly 35 million kilometers," McGinnis said. "No lost time injuries have been attributed to Cat autonomous haulage. Command for hauling has demonstrated how it enhances safety by eliminating truck operating errors and by reducing the number of people working in the active mining area."
Initial development of Cat autonomous mining trucks began more than 20 years ago. "In 1996 Caterpillar debuted the first autonomous mining truck at MINExpo," said Michael Murphy, chief engineer of Cat MineStar. "Caterpillar was an early adopter of GPS guidance technology, and we had success with it in a number of applications. At that time, Caterpillar focused on developing the building blocks for automation. These technologies are now the core of MineStar capabilities, which assist onboard operators and enable tele-remote, semi-autonomous and autonomous machine operation."