Construction Giant Claims First LTE-Operated Mining AVs

A major construction equipment manufacturer claims it is the first company to begin operating autonomous mining vehicles using long-term evolution (LTE) infrastructure.

Komatsu America says its FrontRunner autonomous haulage system (AHS) has become the first such system to qualify for commercial operation by private LTE broadband, which it claims is a first for the mining sector. The company says FrontRunner enables mining vehicles to operate autonomously, which it argues will provide “significant benefits, including reduced worker exposure to harm, protocols designed to constantly improve mine site safety, reduced operating costs, and increased productivity and efficiency”.

Komatsu’s statement did not specify what level of automation FrontRunner would have. It also did not say whether its mining AVs would have human back-up drivers or what features FrontRunner has in place to counteract the false sense of security that AVs’ self-driving systems can generate within their occupants. Komatsu says it tested the system on Nokia’s Future X infrastructure at its proving grounds in Tucson, Arizona.

Komatsu modular mining systems CEO Luiz Steinberg boasted the company was “helping the industry move the next billion tons of material with autonomous technology. We have come together with Nokia to further this vision of delivering increased value to the mining industry”.

 


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