PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Iron-ore major Fortescue Metals has deployed autonomous light vehicles (ALVs) at its mining operations in the Chichester Hub.
The company on Monday reported that the ALVs were developed by Fortescue’s Technology and Autonomy team as a solution to improve the efficiency of the Christmas Creek mobile maintenance team, removing the need for fitters to make around 12 000, 28-km round trips a year to collect equipment and parts.
With the assistance of Ford Australia, four Ford Rangers have been retrofitted with an on-board vehicle automation system to support the driverless equipment transfer service, which will improve efficiency and safety by enabling team members to spend more time on maintaining assets.
The system features an integrated lidar/radar perception system that facilitates obstacle detection and dynamic obstacle avoidance, a comprehensive independent safety management and fail safe braking system and extensive built-in system monitoring and fault response capability.
The successful deployment of ALVs at Christmas Creek will provide the opportunity to implement a similar system at other operational sites to improve safety, productivity and efficiency.
“Since the outset, Fortescue has been at the forefront of innovation in the mining industry, underpinned by our value of generating ideas. It is this focus on technology and innovation that has driven our industry-leading operational performance and cost position,” CEO Elizabeth Gaines said.
“The autonomous light vehicle project is a significant advancement of our in-house automation capability, building on our leading autonomous haulage system programme which has already delivered significant productivity and efficiency improvements for the business.
“With the flexibility to introduce similar systems into other mobile assets, this project is fundamental to our future mobile equipment automation projects,” Gaines said.