Mineral Resources (MinRes) has announced the handover of its first custom off-road triple-trailer road train for conversion into autonomous operation to project partner Hexagon AB.
MinRes says that the handover, which was achieved one month ahead of schedule, is another significant milestone in the development of a fleet of fully autonomous road trains.
The world-first technology has been designed and developed by both companies for MinRes’ Onslow Iron project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
MinRes director of technology and innovation David Geraghty presented the keys to the highly customised Kenworth C509 prime mover at Hexagon’s Perth workshop.
Hexagon chief synergy officer Gordon Dale, executive vice president Mike Verheyn and vice president John Buszekwere also in Perth for the handover.
MinRes says the road trains will be converted to autonomous operation by Hexagon using technology developed by its engineering team. MinRes says the vehicles will be tested with check drivers at its sites in the Yilgarn region.
From January, MinRes says that 10 vehicles a month will be converted across the next year to meet Onslow Iron’s requirements. Once complete, MinRes says it will have a fleet of 120 fully autonomous road trains.
Each triple trailer road train will carry 330 tonnes of iron ore approximately 150 kms on a private, sealed haul road from the Ken’s Bore mine site to the Port of Ashburton.
Safety is at the forefront of the design. MinRes says that grade separation will ensurethere’s no interaction between the road trains on the haul road and vehicles using public roads.
Geraghty says that autonomous trucks will form an essential part of its Onslow Iron mine.
“Automation brings many benefits, including enhanced road safety, increased operational efficiencies and reduced emissions,” Geraghty says.
Dale says that its partnership between Hexagon and MinRes is a complimentary one.
“We are excited to commence installing the autonomous technology in our Perth workshop, with the aim to complete a fit out of a truck in just two-to-three-days,” Dale says.