By Nick Gilbert
Minato-ku, Tokyo-based Komatsu has developed a new Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) that began its commercial operation in July 2012 at an open-pit mine situated in northwestern Australia.
Over 150 autonomous Komatsu dump trucks were intended to be deployed in this site by 2015. Topcon GPS receiver technology is being adopted in this unique autonomous dump truck operation in which unmanned trucks will accurately navigate.
As developing countries like China demand more and more natural resources, the expansion of mining sites has been achieved in remote places with harsh environmental conditions. In these locations, site owners are posed with challenges like employing truck operators in spite of higher salaries.
Several manned dump trucks are being operated in existing mines. Operators need to have a high level of driving expertise for avoiding accidents.
Using GPS technology, Komatsu’s AHS finds out the accurate position of the unmanned trucks precisely, followed by controlling them on predetermined courses. Based on this technology, reduced manpower, consistent speed control, high efficiency, minimal equipment wear, longer operating time, and fuel efficiency can be achieved.
The system ensures error-free operation. A more secure, reliable and convenient work site can be established by using this system. It also promotes sustainability by minimizing environmental impact like carbon dioxide emissions associated with the quantity of material hauled.
Topcon is the only manufacturer in Japan to produce high precision GPS receivers. Its other offering and services include innovative milliwave radar, high precision GPS navigation system, and optic-fiber gyro for potential achievement of the unmanned dump truck system.