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Rio partners with Scania to develop autonomous trucks

Friday, October 14th, 2022

Mining major Rio Tinto is partnering with Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania in developing more agile autonomous haul trucks at its Pilbara mines.

The two companies have established a long-term research and development collaboration agreement for the continuous advancement of this autonomous technology, under which Rio’s Channar mine has become the first active partner site for Scania’s autonomous mining solution. The partnership also includes options for the future transition to electric-powered vehicles.

The partners launched new trials on Scania’s 40-t-payload autonomous mining trucks in April this year and quickly reached a key milestone of driverless operation in a simulated load and haul cycle environment.

“Rio Tinto is excited to partner with Scania to develop a mining solution which will create optionality across our diverse portfolio. Collaboration and partnership is key to reimagining mining in the future,” group technical MD Santi Pal said.

“Our climate action plan includes phasing out the purchase of new diesel haul trucks by 2030, and partnering with industry leaders, such as Scania, across a range of fields, is an important step towards achieving that. As well as the potential decarbonisation benefits, this partnership provides a path to potential productivity improvements.”

Scania VP and head of autonomous solutions Peter Hafmar said that with its dedication to achieving cleaner, more energy-efficient operations, Rio is the ideal partner and first customer for Scania as the company seeks to put mining on a pathway to net zero emissions.

“This is a major step towards the goals of a sustainable autonomous mining solution, and builds on our already fruitful long-term collaboration.”

Scania’s trucks have potential advantages over traditional heavy haulage trucks, both in terms of emissions and productivity.

In using Scania’s autonomous mining trucks, energy requirements, mining footprint and infrastructure requirements can be reduced, meaning that capital and operating expenses may also be reduced at suitable sites, Rio said in a statement.

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