Even the most enthusiastic advocate for self-driving (or autonomous) trucks would likely admit that we’re years off seeing driverless trucks handling the freight loads between Australia’s major cities.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for self-driving trucks in Australia.
One application that brings real safety advantages of having the human away from the truck, and thus away from danger, is in mining.
And Scania is very much leading the way here.
Scania, along with mining giants, Rio Tinto, have had a self-driving truck at work at a WA mine since August and they say it’s doing exactly what they expected – happily working away on its own.
Operating at the Dampier Salt operations, the Scania XT 8×4 autonomous tipper truck has still had a driver on-board babysitting the tech.
But they say the truck is now ready to go out on its own.
“This has the potential to give us more flexibility in the way we operate in a number of areas across Rio Tinto.” – Rio Tinto head of Productivity & Technical Support, Rob Atkinson.
“We have seen automation create safer and more efficient operations in our business and this is a next step in evaluating options for delivering further improvements through the use of technology.”
While Björn Winblad, Head of Scania Mining, tells us the self-driving technology has proven to be safe and reliable.
“The industry can reap the safety and productivity benefits of automation, and the experience gained here will be instrumental in developing fully autonomous solutions for other transport applications.
“It is very encouraging to note that the truck has been performing in a safe manner and in accordance with expectations with regards to the operations.”
- Related: Scania boss says safety starting to become a priority
- Related: Scania reaffirms commitment to clean propulsion
- Related: Scania delivers first local XT mining trucks
Stay up to date with the latest Scania News at heavyvehicles.com.au.