Komatsu Ltd and Toyota Motor Corporation have announced a joint project to develop an autonomous light vehicle that will run on Komatsu's autonomous haulage system for enhanced safety and productivity improvements in mines.
Haulage trucks using an autonomous haulage system are already in use in mine sites, but when they share roads with manual light vehicles like those used for maintenance or transport, they may decrease their speed or stop when passing, to avoid possible collisions caused by human error.
This impacts overall productivity in mines, so Komatsu and Toyota have come together to accelerate the development of autonomous operation in light vehicles to help address the challenge.
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.
Both companies are currently testing a concept autonomous light vehicle at their proving grounds, and plan to have a proof of concept at a customer site by January 2024.
Leo Kaloglou, Executive General Manager Mining for Komatsu Australia, says since the launch of the world's first commercial application of an autonomous haulage system in Australia in 2008, Komatsu has been known for pioneering autonomous trucks, with a focus on safety and productivity.
“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.”
Komatsu Australia’s Managing Director Sean Taylor says Komatsu and Toyota have a long, strategic, global relationship, and this project is another example of this collaboration delivering value to joint customers.
“Komatsu and Toyota are also collaborating on hydrogen fuel cell technologies to be featured on medium sized hydraulic excavators, which will support our journey towards a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050,” Sean says.
“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.”