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Caterpillar meets autonomous milestone

OEM Caterpillar has met a significant milestone on its autonomous journey: 3 billion tonnes hauled autonomously using the Cat Command system for hauling trucks.

Jim Hawkins, director of Cat MineStar Solutions, said that since the company passed the 2-billion-tonne mark, it has equipped even more mines across more commodities with Command trucks and have established the first gold mining application with Command for hauling.

Additionally, since surpassing 1 billion tonnes, it has expanded the Command fleet by almost 250%.

It also touted its expansion of placements on more truck class sizes and on other brands of mining equipment.

In fact, Command for hauling trucks now span class sizes from 190 to 360 tonnes (210 to 400 tons); the Cat line of Command models include the Cat 789D, 793D, 793F, 797F and the 297-tonne (327-ton) 794 AC with electric drive.

Caterpillar has made available Command retrofit kits for Cat-branded mining trucks as well as other brands of both trucks and loading equipment. Since the first autonomous Cat trucks were commissioned in 2013, AHS models have traveled over 110 million kilometers, or 68.3 million miles. What’s more, it has been done with zero lost-time injuries.

The OEM said its Command autonomous haulage system fleets now operate across three continents – North America, South America and Australia – and at 17 mine locations operated by nine different customers producing iron ore, oil sands, copper, coal and gold.

“Customers using Command for hauling report significant gains in productivity and truck utilization rates with lower costs per tonne; customers have seen up to 30% higher productivity,” Cat said.

Marc Cameron, vice president, Caterpillar Resource Industries, added: “We continue to decrease the time between our major milestone targets because, from initial contract to full deployment, we constantly improve Command implementation efficiency. Consistent with previous milestone trends, we anticipate crossing the 4 billion tonnes threshold at even a faster pace than achieving 3 billion tonnes. We are planning the expansion of Command for hauling to include our 140-tonne (150-ton) class Cat 785 mining truck.”