Komatsu and Toyota have partnered to develop an autonomous light vehicle, which will run on Komatsu’s autonomous haulage system for enhanced safety and productivity improvements in mines.
Under the agreement, Komatsu will develop a new management program for autonomous light vehicles (ALVs) on its autonomous haulage supervisory system (AHS), and Toyota will develop ALVs running automatically under AHS control.
When haulage trucks share roads with manual light vehicles used for maintenance or transport, the trucks may decrease its speed or stop when passing, to avoid possible collisions caused by human error, which impacts overall productivity.
As a response to this problem, Komatsu and Toyota have joined forces to accelerate the development of autonomous operation in light vehicles.
Executive general manager mining for Komatsu Australia Leo Kaloglou said Komatsu has been a pioneer for autonomous trucks that focuses on safety and productivity for 15 years, when the world’s first commercial application of an autonomous haulage system launched in Australia.
“Since 2008, we’ve have rolled out 650 driverless trucks at 22 mine sites around the world. Our AHS has a proven track record in delivering enhanced productivity and lower operating costs, with safety as the highest priority,” Kaloglou said.
Managing director of Komatsu Australia Sean Taylor said both companies are also collaborating on hydrogen fuel cell technologies to be featured on medium sized hydraulic excavators, which will help work towards a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.
“Komatsu’s vision is to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and planet thrive together and we are accelerating our efforts to realise smart and clean future mine sites, leading to higher safety and productivity for our customer and partners,” Taylor said.
Both companies are currently testing a concept autonomous light vehicle, and plan to have a proof of concept at a customer site by January 2024.