In the world of transport, ‘autonomous’ seems to be a buzzword that is making its way to every sector that produces anything that moves. As technological giants Apple and Google, as well as many auto manufacturers in the industry, scramble to be the first to unveil a self-driving vehicle to the market (as well as own the bragging rights to hitting this finish line first); it seems that Komatsu is already there … with their very own autonomous mining truck, that is.
Debuting at Las Vegas’ MINExpo recently, Komatsu unveiled its concept of the Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle (IAHV). This isn’t the company’s first time at revealing autonomous ideas, as they have presented the 830E and 930E models in the past. Still, the IAHV idea stands alone as it is the first model to eliminate any setup from human workers by taking out the cab within the top part of the machine, as well as any controls on it (i.e. steering wheel, pedals, and such).
So how does it all work? As it is completely autonomous in operation, the concept uses steering and four-wheel drive. It was designed with high-level shuttling in forward in mind, taking away any need when it comes to ‘K-Turns’. Komatsu states that there is bettered traction within this mining truck concept and its agility has improved significantly; which will in turn help with improvements around productivity, especially when it comes to mines that tend to have intemperate weather and tight restrictions.
MSN reported that the concept comes in at over 400 metric tons (over 900,00 pounds) and can haul about 230 metric tons (that is more than 500,000 pounds)! Lastly, the machine has a top speed of 40 miles per hour; and a gross power output of about 2,700 hp.
In 2008, Komatsu initially commercialized the Autonomous Haulage System (AHS). The company now states these trucks equipped with AHS have moved a total of 1 billion tons of minerals and overburden across mins in Australia and Chile.