Mineral Resources Successfully Demonstrates Three-Trailer Autonomous Iron Ore Road Train

Posted by Paul Moore on April 13, 2022

Mineral Resources’ Autonomous Road Train Project has reached a world first milestone, achieving a successful demonstration of an automated three-trailer road train platoon, with each road train carrying 300 t of iron ore. The demonstration highlighted the success of its autonomous road train pilot project, which has been underway at our Yilgarn iron ore operations since late 2021. The company worked with Hexagon’s Autonomy & Positioning and Mining divisions on the solution, which integrates drive-by-wire technology with an autonomous management system to orchestrate the movement of vehicles in road-to-rail transport.

Mike Grey, Managing Director of Mining Services, said automating a platoon of road trains of this size had never been done before and he was delighted that Mineral Resources was leading the world with this groundbreaking innovation. “It has been an exciting journey over the past year and we have now completed a world first platoon of three autonomous road trains which is a game changer for us. It is a tremendously proud moment to see our autonomous project grow from concept office to iron ore reality so quickly.

Mineral Resources claims to provide innovative, low-cost solutions throughout the mining infrastructure supply chain. “Our self-driving road trains will be a critical part of the profitable supply chain unlocking stranded resources in the Pilbara region as part of the Ashburton Hub Iron Ore project.”

Gray said Mineral Resources has introduced a number of new technologies over the past few years to improve the safety and operational efficiency of our long-haul road train fleet and that self-driving road trains will take us to the next level. The technology will initially be adopted for its own mining operations, with a view to offering the solution to its Tier 1 customer base as it expands its Mining Services division.

“As we prepare for the Ashburton Hub Iron Ore project and seek to unlock tons of stranded iron ore, our self-driving road trains will be the lifeline between mine and port,” Gray said. “As the first of its kind in the world, it opens up new opportunities for us, as we can test the technology ourselves before offering it to our Tier 1 customers.”

Nick Hare, president of Hexagon’s mining division, said Hexagon enjoys working with MinRes because of its ability to quickly bring ideas into production. “We appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate our leadership position in sensors, software and autonomous solutions. Mineral Resources is an ideal partner for a project of this size and complexity,” said Hare.