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Mineral Resources (MinRes) has provided Hexagon with the first custom off-road triple road train to convert into an autonomous operation, one month ahead of schedule.

To celebrate the milestone, MinRes director of technology and innovation David Geraghty and Hexagon chief synergy officer autonomous solutions Gordan Dale presented the keys to the highly customised Kenworth C509 prime mover at Hexagon’s Perth workshop.

Hexagon executive vice president core autonomy Mike Verheyn and Hexagon vice president core autonomy engineering John Buszek also travelled to Perth to honour the achievement.

“This is a significant milestone for (the) Onslow Iron (project), with autonomous trucks forming an essential part of the project’s supply chain,” Geraghty said.

“Automation brings many benefits, including enhancing road safety, increasing operational efficiencies and reducing emissions.”

MinRes and Hexagon signed an agreement in late 2021 that involved developing an autonomous road train solution for MinRes’ haulage fleet in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

From January 2024, 10 vehicles per month will be converted over the next year to meet the requirements of the Onslow Iron project. Once deployed, MinRes will have a fleet of 120 fully autonomous road trains, as the company announced in July 2023.

“This is a complimentary partnership, with MinRes leading the way in mining services and Hexagon leading the way in autonomous technical capability,” Dale said.

“We are excited to commence installing the autonomous technology in our Perth workshop, with the aim to complete a fit out of a truck in just two-to-three days.”

The world-first technology has been designed and developed jointly by MinRes and Hexagon. Safety is at the forefront of the technology’s design, with grade separation ensuring there is no interaction between the road trains on the haul road and vehicles using public roads.

The vehicles are currently being tested with check drivers at MinRes sites in the Yilgarn region of WA.