Caterpillar is again hitting a significant milestone in autonomous haulage—achieving 2 billion tonnes (2.2 billion short tons) hauled using Cat MineStar Command for hauling. Caterpillar has doubled the amount hauled in the 16 months since reaching 1 billion tonnes hauled in November 2018.
“In just a bit over 6 years we’ve safely hauled 2 billion tonnes—a milestone we achieved significantly faster than our competitors,” says Sean McGinnis, MineStar Solutions Product Manager. “This milestone makes Command for hauling the most productive commercially available solution, and it’s something mining people are noticing.”
Since commercially launching Command for hauling in 2013, Caterpillar has continued to improve the speed of implementation. “We’re launching Command on more sites and implementing it more quickly, so more of our customers can experience the safety and productivity gains that autonomous hauling delivers,” says McGinnis.
McGinnis credits input from Caterpillar customers for the success of Command for hauling. “One of the reasons that Caterpillar has been so successful in expanding Command and delivering results is because we listen to and partner with our customers. They identify features, functionality, and even the autonomous truck models they need for their operations.”
Over the last 6 years, MineStar Solutions has also continued to grow its expertise in autonomous operations—not only in hauling but also with autonomous dozers, drills and underground loaders. “The skills and knowledge of our MineStar team are unmatched in the industry,” says John Deselem, Global Autonomy Operations Manager. “Beyond getting better at implementing the system, we’ve become trusted advisors for mine sites looking to take advantage of what autonomy makes possible. We listen to their needs, then work together to build the ideal solution for their mine.”
To date, Caterpillar has 276 autonomous trucks in operation – and counting. “The push toward autonomous mining doesn’t show any signs of slowing,” says McGinnis. “We have projects in the works with a number of large mining companies either looking to expand their current autonomous haulage operations or implement new ones.”
The Caterpillar autonomous fleet is made up of Cat 789D, 793D, 793F and 797F trucks, as well as a fleet of Komatsu 930Es. The Cat 794 AC electric-drive autonomous truck will be ready for autonomous haulage later this year. Command equipped trucks have driven over 67.6 million kilometers (42.0 million miles) without a lost-time injury.
“Command for hauling has proven its value to mining customers,” says McGinnis. “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.”