Based on conventional large mining trucks, Komatsu’s FrontRunner trucks run completely autonomously – they are not remotely controlled – with a full truck fleet able to be monitored by a single controller located up to thousands of kilometres away.
They are able to operate around-the-clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivering significant safety, productivity, reliability, performance and operational benefits to mine fleet owners.
Komatsu FrontRunner trucks are typically loaded by conventionally operated manned loading tools – such as shovels or front-end loaders – hauling either overburden to waste dumps or paddock dumps for spreading, or mined resources to the crusher area.
Each truck incorporates a combination of vehicle controllers, precision GPS, an obstacle detection system (ODS) using radar and laser, and a wireless network system developed by Komatsu.
The truck’s vehicle control system incorporates a detailed map of the mine area, including haul roads, loading areas, dump areas and refuelling and maintenance areas.
The mine’s central controller assigns required routes to each truck, whether overburden hauling or ore hauling.
Each loading tool is fitted with an integrated touch-screen computer showing the location, direction of movement and speed of all items of mobile plant within the FrontRunner fleet’s operations area.
As each truck approaches the loading area, the loading tool operator uses their on-board touch-screen computer to “spot” the truck to the correct loading location, “telling” the truck when it can move into position to be loaded, then once it is loaded that it can move off to the dump area.
In dumping, the autonomous system is able to handle the different requirements of the mine, depending on the material to be dumped, whether to fixed crusher plant locations for mined ore or to overburden waste dumps.
What are some key advantages of Komatsu’s FrontRunner AHS system?
Key advantages of Komatsu’s FrontRunner system include:
- More accurate component life prediction because they are consistently driven to their optimum operating characteristics at all times
- Reduced tyre wear, due to their constantly achieving their optimum travel speeds, gear shifts and braking requirements
- Lower fuel consumption
- Increased productivity and production, through no need to stop for shift changes or crib breaks, longer periods between service requirements, and minimised unscheduled downtime.