Mining giant Rio Tinto is set to become the owner of the largest fleet of driverless trucks after signing a deal with Komatsu.


The deal will see Rio Phase in 150 driverless trucks over the next year to be used in the company’s Pilbara operations.  The purchase forms part of Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program that will introduce next-generation technologies for mining operations with the aim of reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving health, safety and environmental performance.


“Autonomous haulage is an important component in our Mine of the FutureTM programme.  These 150 new trucks will work with our pioneering Operations Centre that integrates and manages the logistics of 14 mines, three ports and two railways. These technologies are revolutionising the way large-scale mining is done, creating attractive hi-tech jobs, and helping us to improve safety and environmental performance and reduce carbon emissions,”  Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese said.


Rio Tinto has been testing the Komatsu Autonomous Haulage System, the world's first commercial autonomous mining haulage system, in the Pilbara since December 2008. During the trials the AHS technology demonstrated benefits in health, safety and productivity.