Komatsu America announced the FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System has achieved the milestone of more than two billion tons of surface material move autonomously. The FrontRunner system has now hauled more than all other commercial mining autonomous haulage systems combined, Komatsu said.

Since its first commercial deployment in 2008 at CODELCO’s Gabriela Mistral copper mine in Chile, the FrontRunner AHS has experienced exponential growth in cumulative production, breaking the 1 billion tons mark in 2016 and the 1.5 billion tons mark in late 2017. This has been accomplished with more than 130 trucks in operation to date. An additional 150 trucks will deploy to the Canadian oil sands during the next seven years, Komatsu said.

Working closely with customers, the system’s 10-year zero-harm and productivity record has enabled Komatsu to accelerate the pace of AHS deployment. Today’s FrontRunner system operates around the clock, hauling copper, iron and oil sands at seven sites on three continents.

“The ongoing investment in technology and equipment by major mining companies in Chile, Australia and Canada underscore their belief in the value of autonomous haulage,” said Anthony Cook, vice president autonomous and communications solutions at Modular Mining Systems, a subsidiary of Komatsu.

Komatsu’s approach for FrontRunner AHS brings together ultra-class dump trucks with MMS’ DISPATCH Fleet Management System, the preferred management system in nine of the 10 largest mining operations in the world. The system enables 100-percent compliance to its proven optimization methodology, delivering unrivalled performance.

“AHS continues to play an increasingly crucial role in effective mine management as more and more operations transition from manned to unmanned fleets,” said Dan Funcannon, vice president and general manager, large mining truck division, Komatsu America. “As the demand for autonomous systems grows, Komatu will continue raising the bar in an effort to help mines provide safer working environments, maximize production, and reduce operating costs.”

Prior to achieving the autonomous haulage milestone, Komatsu hosted an Autonomous Haulage Demonstration Day in Tucson, Ariz., showcasing the company’s autonomous haulage and assisted operations solutions.

Komatsu plans to enhance the AHS’ mixed operation functions, enabling manned trucks of any make to inter-operate with Komatsu AHS trucks in a blended operation. Komatsu is also working with industry stakeholders towards standardization of interoperability between Komatsu and non-Komatsu autonomous vehicles to improve safety and efficiency at customer operations.