Caterpillar is working to adapt its Cat MineStar Command autonomous hauler control sytem to retrofit Komatsu 930E dump trucks in an interoperability initiative aimed at reducing the costs for mining companies with large existing mixed-brand fleets.
“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” said Sean McGinnis, product manager for the Cat MineStar Command system.
“And many mining companies operate mixed fleets of trucks. Developing autonomous systems for other brands of trucks will enable us to offer a total solution to these customers.”
Caterpillar is also planning to expand the range of Cat truck models fitted for autonomous operation, and is currently conducting tests with the 797F, the largest of Cat dump truck with a 363t payload capacity.
The Cat 797F and other models will join the existing Cat 793F in the autonomous mining truck line.
One customer, Fortescue Metals Group reported in August 2016 that a large fleet of its Caterpillar 227t autonomous trucks had helped achieve a 20% productivity advantage over standard trucks at its Solomon iron-ore mine in Western Australia.
At that particular mine, the fleet and support staff also achieved zero lost time injuries since the first trucks started operating more than 3.5 years ago.
In keeping with the retrofit trend, several of the current global fleet of 70 Cat 793F autonomous trucks have been retrofitted to operate autonomously.