Mining major Rio Tinto and Swedish vehicle manufacturer Scania say a partnership agreement aiming to develop “more agile autonomous haul trucks” includes options for the future transition to electric-powered vehicles.
Rio Tinto and Scania started trials on the truck-maker’s 40-tonne-payload autonomous vehicles in April this year which they say quickly reached a key milestone of driverless operation in a simulated load and haul cycle environment. Rio’s Channar iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is described as the first active partner site for Scania auto-trucks.
The two companies had established a long-term research and development collaboration agreement for the continuous advancement of the autonomous technology, they said.
Scania, which booked more than US$13 billion of sales last year, spent more than $670 million on R&D in 2021.
The manufacturer says its trucks have potential advantages over traditional heavy haulage trucks, both in terms of emissions and productivity.
“In utilising Scania’s autonomous mining trucks, energy requirements, mining footprint and infrastructure requirements can be reduced, meaning that capital and operating expenses may also be reduced at suitable sites,” the two companies said in a statement.