RIO TRAINS RIDE SOLO
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
RIO Tinto is a step closer to its goal of running a network of fully autonomous trains across its Pilbara operations, after completing its first unmanned train journey in October.
The 100km pilot journey between Wombat Junction and Paraburdoo was the first fully autonomous heavy haul train run in Australia, and a significant milestone for the WA iron ore miner as it works towards full commissioning of its AutoHaul technology in late 2018 once regulatory approvals have been received.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief Chris Salisbury said the pilot was closely monitored by teams on ground and at its operations centre in Perth.
“Rio Tinto is proud to be a leader in innovation and autonomous technology in the global mining industry which is delivering long-term competitive advantages as we build the mines of the future,” Mr Salisbury said.
“This successful pilot run puts us firmly on track to meet our goal of operating the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance rail network, which will unlock significant safety and productivity benefits for the business.
“Gains from AutoHaul are already being realised including reduced variability and increased speed across the network, helping to reduce average cycle times.”
“this successful pilot run puts us firmly on track to meet our goal of operating the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance rail network.”
Rio Tinto currently operates about 200 trains in the Pilbara transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals, across more than 1700km of track.
Mr Salisbury said new roles were being created to manage its future operations, and the company was preparing it current workforce to ensure they remain part of the industry.
Rio Tinto’s driverless AutoHaul train.