Autonomous Haulage System
What can you do if you are operating a mine in an area so remote or hostile you can’t find enough qualified truck operators? Turn to Komatsu, of course. Komatsu’s Frontrunner Autonomous Haulage System uses GPS navigation to allow large electric mining trucks to operate to a complex plan rather than an operator. Autonomous operation can significantly increase productivity, especially in multiple shift operations where it is hard to find sufficient manpower.
Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) is a comprehensive fleet management system for mines. The dump trucks, which are equipped with vehicle controllers, a high-precision global positioning system (GPS), an obstacle detection system and a wireless network system jointly developed by Komatsu Ltd., Komatsu America Corp. and Modular Mining Systems, Inc., are operated and controlled via a supervisory computer, enabling them to be unmanned. Information on target course and speed is sent wirelessly from the supervisory computer to the driverless dump trucks, while the GPS is used to ascertain their position. When loading, the dump trucks are automatically guided to the loading spot after computing the position of the bucket of the GPS-fitted hydraulic excavator or wheel loader. The supervisory computer also sends information on a specific course to the dumping spot.
From a safety perspective, the fleet control system prevents collisions with other dump trucks, service vehicles or other equipment at the mining site. In case an obstacle detection system detects another vehicle or person inside the hauling course under AHS operation, the vehicles will reduce speed or stop immediately, making the system extremely safe and reliable.
In addition, AHS enables stable operation under grueling conditions such as at high altitudes or in sparsely populated, arid desert areas. At the same time, by optimizing operations, the system contributes to reducing maintenance costs, conserving energy and curbing CO2 emissions.