Driverless train safely delivers iron ore

Friday, 13 July, 2018

Driverless train safely delivers iron ore

The first delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train has been carried out by Rio Tinto in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

The autonomous train, consisting of three locomotives and carrying around 28,000 tonnes of iron ore, travelled over 280 km from Rio Tinto’s mining operations in Tom Price to the port of Cape Lambert on 10 July. It was monitored remotely by operators from Rio Tinto’s Operations Centre in Perth more than 1500 km away.

The inaugural journey is a significant milestone for Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul program and follows regulatory approval in May. AutoHaul is on schedule to be completed by the end of the year, unlocking significant safety and productivity gains for the business as well as optimising the company’s iron ore system by providing more flexibility and reducing bottlenecks.

“The safe first delivery of iron ore by an autonomous train is a key milestone for AutoHaul. The program will deliver the world’s first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network, operating the world’s largest and longest robots,” said Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Managing Director Rail, Port and Core Services.

“This program symbolises both the pioneering spirit and innovative talents of many people across Rio Tinto and shows our absolute commitment to improving safety and productivity, as well as enabling greater flexibility across our operations.

“We will continue to ensure our autonomous trains operate safely under the wide range of conditions we experience in the Pilbara, where we record more than eight million kilometres of train travel each year.

“We are working closely with drivers during this transition period as we prepare our employees for new ways of working as a result of automation.”

Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.

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