Komatsu to further develop ‘autonomous haulage vehicles’
Equipment manufacturer looks to the future with self-operated construction plant
JUST as the era of autonomous, ‘accident-free motoring’ is becoming a reality with cars that can drive themselves begin to appear on Irish roads, Komatsu say they have stolen a high-tech march by creating a dumptruck that uses similar technology.
The unit concerned – described by Komatsu as an ‘autonomous haulage vehicle – is one designed for the mining sector. However, as industry watchers will know, the day cannot be far off when Komatsu introduce similar technology on frontline construction vehicles.
Exclusively developed to maximize the advantages of unmanned operation in challenging conditions, Komatsu's new autonomous haulage vehicle is designed to eliminate K-turns at loading/unloading sites.
By distributing equal load to the four wheels both when the vehicle is loaded and unloaded, and adopting four-wheel drive, retarder and steering, Komatsu's innovative unmanned vehicle is said to provide high-performance shuttling in both forward and reverse directions.
The highly sophisticated technology will significantly improve productivity at mines where existing unmanned haulage vehicles face challenging conditions, such as slippery ground due to frequent rain and snowfall, as well as confined spaces for loading.
Komatsu have led the world by commercializing autonomous haulage system (AHS) vehicles. First introduced in 2008, AHS dumptrucks are believed to have hauled over 1 billion tons of overburden and minerals at large-scale mines mainly in Chile and Australia.
By continuing its efforts to optimize the performance of construction and mining equipment, and rigorously promoting remote control and unmanned machine operation, the company will help its customers significantly improve their productivity when the new haulage machines hits the market in the near future.