Rio Tinto Implements Zero-Emission Caterpillar Autonomous Trucks
(15 September 2021 – Australia) Rio Tinto has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Caterpillar to develop zero-emissions autonomous haul trucks for operation at the group’s Western Australian mining sites.
Prototypes will be developed, tested, and undergo pre-production trials before the trucks enter service at the Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in the Pilbara region. The initiative is part of the mining company’s A$1 billion climate change commitment seeking to hit net zero emissions by 2050. Rio Tinto worked with Caterpillar to deploy three fully autonomous water trucks at its Gudai-Darri site. Each truck features an on-board system that can automatically detect when water application is needed on the roads to suppress dry and dusty conditions on-site. It can also recognise when it is time to refill, prompting them to self-drive to the water stand, park, and top-up before returning to the field.
Rio Tinto implemented fully autonomous haul trucks over ten years ago as part of the commencement of its “Mine of the Future” program. Ever since, the company has been expanding its autonomous trucking fleet.
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"Our ambition to reach net zero emissions across our operations is a priority. Reaching this ambition will require new and innovative solutions and partnerships with supplier partners like Caterpillar. This collaboration represents a small but important step on that journey" said Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios.
"We look forward to working together to validate these zero-emissions haul trucks in just a few years' time. The advanced technology at Gudai-Darri puts it at the forefront of new mining operations globally and we look forward to adding Caterpillar zero-emissions haul trucks to the site" Barrios added.