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Achieving Autonomous Operation at Mines

Hitachi Construction Machinery is developing a wide range of technologies to realize autonomous operation of ultra-large hydraulic excavators at mines. First, we are working on advanced remote control systems to further improve the working environment and safety of operators. Also, careful checking and operation by operators at mines is conducted to avoid collisions with other equipment and vehicles and to maintain vehicle stability. We are developing operation support systems to maintain these even during remote operation. Further, we are planning to develop a system that will enable a single remote operator to operate multiple ultra-large hydraulic excavators concurrently by automating part of the excavation and loading operations. Combining these technologies will allow us in the future to provide customers with ultra-large hydraulic excavators that have autonomous operation features.

Development for Autonomous Operation of Ultra-Large Hydraulic Excavators

Dump trucks equipped with Hitachi Construction Machinery AHS can be efficiently dispatched through autonomous haulage by following the instructions of the Fleet Management System (FMS) of our group company Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd. This system is scalable to control up to 100 vehicles and can be used for autonomous operation at large-scale mines. In the near future, autonomously operated ultra-large hydraulic excavators and dump trucks will exchange information with other equipment and machinery to realize autonomous operation and improve safety and productivity at mining sites.

Dump Truck Autonomous Haulage System (AHS)

Development of remotely operated ultra-large hydraulic excavators and other equipment is conducted at the Hitachi Construction Machinery Urahoro Test Site (Urahoro-cho, Tokachi-gun, Hokkaido). This test site is located on a vast 427-hectare land owned by the company, and is a digging and traveling operations test site where experiments can be conducted day and night. Mining machinery that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is tested in a variety of environments, including at different times during the day and in different weather conditions, because this machinery must be able to operate under a wide range of environments.

Development Test Site (Urahoro Test Site)