Nick Allen - Terry Fox Secondary School

The use of robotics in industries is ever growing, replacing the working human in some cases! Recently more and more mining companies are now using autonomous haul trucks to transport their mined resources safely out of the areas. The autonomous trucks are starting to and will make a huge impact in the way mining companies operate, as well as other industries requiring heavy transportation of goods.

Komatsu is one of the largest companies that have produced autonomous mining trucks, becoming pioneers of this technology that is becoming more popular. The first fleet of these trucks Komatsu deployed was in Codelco’s copper mines in Chile. These behemoths of machinery are capable of hauling a total of approximately 290 tonnes. CAT is also going ahead with Autonomous haul trucks, completing trials at their coal mine in New Mexico, earlier this year.

Replacing the regular mine truck with an autonomous one has many advantages. One of the greatest is the safety that comes along with them. They are able to navigate tunnels independently and with no one needing to operate them, eliminate the risk of injury to the operator as well as reducing costs. The trucks’ work hours aren’t too bad either. They can work around the clock without a lunch break, thus delivering more minerals at a constant rate.

Everyday in our lives we witness how technology is changing the way we perform tasks. Aside from the consumer based technology such as smart phones and tablets, the way we buy our groceries is different now. Instead of being greeted by a cashier when purchasing your items, you are now greeted with the face of a screen, instructing you how to checkout independently. This is only the beginning of autonomous vehicles and machines, with the technology changing constantly in all areas, including mining. With more mining companies switching to autonomous vehicles, who knows if they’ll even need miners to hire in the coming years!