Fortescue’s autonomous truck fleet hits one billion tonne milestone

By Daniel Brightmore
Fortescue Metals Group’s fleet of autonomous haul trucks has achieved a significant milestone, safely moving more over billion tonnes of material acro...

Fortescue Metals Group’s fleet of autonomous haul trucks has achieved a significant milestone, safely moving more over billion tonnes of material across 33.5mn kilometres. 

In 2012, Fortescue was the first in the world to deploy Caterpillar’s autonomous haulage technology (AHS) on a commercial scale at the Company’s Solomon Hub operations and since then the fleet has been expanded to the Chichester Hub, with a total of 137 autonomous trucks now in operation. 

A total of 175 trucks will be converted to autonomous technology by mid-2020, making Fortescue the first iron ore company in the world to have a fully autonomous haulage operation.

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Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said this was a significant milestone for the Company: “Our autonomous fleet has not only moved more than one billion tonnes of material, it has also delivered a 30 per cent improvement in productivity and reflects our commitment to increasing operational efficiency through industry leading technology and innovation

“Importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has led to improved safety outcomes for our team members through reduced interaction between heavy equipment and people in mining areas having safely travelled over 33.5 million kilometres.”

The first Caterpillar 789D model trucks fitted with Autonomous Haulage Technology (AHS) are now in operation at Cloudbreak in the Pilbara, WA.

In a global first, Fortescue retrofitted Cat Command for hauling, part of Caterpillar's MineStar technology, on Komatsu 930E haul trucks at Christmas Creek. The 930Es have been operating alongside the Cat 789Ds since November 2018, demonstrating the company's capability to manage and operate the first multi-class truck size autonomous haulage site in the industry.

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