In addition to the FMS, Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) for dump trucks is another cutting-edge technology that contributes to a dramatic increase in the operation and energy efficiency of mining operations.
The weight of a dump truck that operates at mine excavation sites can reach 500 or more tons when fully loaded. It goes without saying that operators with advance driving skills and experience are required to safely and efficiently operate these huge vehicles. In recent years, however, it is becoming difficult for mines to secure operators and create a safe working environment because of where mines are located and the harsh working environment.
In order to resolve this problem, we have moved forward with research on and development of AHS that makes it possible for unmanned dump trucks to operate autonomously, and tests for commercialization of AHS dump trucks are now being conducted using multiple AHS trucks at mines in eastern Australia. AHS will be commercialized by making use of not only Hitachi Construction Machinery’s advanced body design technology and controls but also the key technologies from Hitachi, Ltd. on its railroad operation management systems and various technologies, including those related to robot controls and car navigation, that the Hitachi Group companies have accumulated over the years in other industries. Furthermore, knowledge acquired by Wenco through its development and deployment of the FMS is used to safely and efficiently run multiple AHS dump trucks in the same area.
At Hitachi Construction Machinery, we plan to use the results of these commercialization tests to further improve various aspects, such as safety, reliability, and efficiency, and then launch sales in the coming years.