Komatsu Ltd. celebrated the 10th anniversary of the commercial deployment of its Autonomous Haulage System in January. Now, more than 100 AHS trucks operate around the clock, hauling three different commodities in six mines across three continents.

Based on the 10-year record of safety, productivity, environmental resistance and system flexibility in an array of mining environments, Komatsu plans to accelerate the pace of AHS deployment.

AHS trucks operate in Australia, and North and South America. In 2005, Komatsu began the AHS trial at Codelco’s copper mine in Chile and succeeded in achieving the world’s first commercial AHS deployment with Codelco in January 2008.

A second successful deployment followed in late 2008 at Rio Tinto’s iron ore mine in Australia, and Rio Tinto currently operates AHS trucks in four mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The entire AHS operation is controlled remotely and efficiently from Rio Tinto’s operations center in Perth, roughly 1,500 km from the mines.

Following those successes of AHS deployments, Komatsu supported Suncor’s pilot of AHS in a section of its oil sands mine in Canada in 2013.

By the end of 2017, the AHS recorded a world-leading, cumulative total of 1.5 billion tons of hauled materials.

To extend the proven AHS benefits to operations with manned haul fleets, Komatsu conducted and successfully completed trials of its AHS retrofit kit at Rio Tinto’s existing mine in September 2017. The kit, mounted on a Komatsu electric drive standard truck 830E (nominal payload: 220 tons), enabled the truck to operate in autonomous mode. As a result, Komatsu recently received an order from Rio Tinto for 29 AHS retrofit kits, to be installed on 830E standard trucks currently operating at Rio Tinto’s Brockman 4 mine.

Komatsu is also planning to enhance the AHS’s mixed-operation functions for blended fleet operations.