none

AUTOHAUL TRAINS GO LIVE

05-10-2017
by 
in 

Driverless freight trains are being deployed in Australia, and while the testing and safety jobs created in the process might currently outnumber the jobs lost through automation, that won't last. 

Mining giant Rio Tinto's AutoHaul train just completed a 100km journey, hauling all the way from Wombat Junction to Paraburdoo on the west coast of Australia.

The train was entirely unmanned, monitored only at a distance by Rio Tinto’s engineers and staff from Australia’s rail safety regulator.

“This successful pilot run puts us firmly on track to meet our goal of operating the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long-distance rail network, which will unlock significant safety and productivity benefits for the business,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury.

Many people assume that, as cross-country freight seems relatively straightforward, it would be easier to automate than city trains (and Sydney is already on track to have its Metro automated trains up and running in the next few years).

However, outside of a predictable city environment, things actually get more difficult. 

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said that “gains from AutoHaul are already being realised including reduced variability and increased speed across the network, helping to reduce average cycle times.”

As recently as July, Rio Tinto had said that 20 percent of all train kilometres on pit-to-port runs were being completed in autonomous mode. However, train drivers were being kept on board as a failsafe.

This has now risen to “50 percent of pooled fleet rail kilometres [being] completed in autonomous mode (with drivers on-board)". 

Rio Tinto hopes to have 180 automated trains running when its Mine of the Future™ programme completes. 

Related news & editorials

  1. 15.11.2018
    15.11.2018
    by      In
    It’s less than a year since Lapp Australia started trading, but the company has swiftly established itself in the local market, with significant penetration in sectors such as food and beverage, manufacturing, solar, sound and stage production, electrical contracting, machine building and... Read More
  2. 12.11.2018
    12.11.2018
    by      In
    Energy Vault has developed a novel solution to storage for renewable energy plants that involves neither batteries nor water.
    The Energy Vault system is based on the fundamental physics of potential and kinetic energy, and uses a proprietary, cloud-based software platform to operate a newly... Read More
  3. 07.11.2018
    07.11.2018
    by      In
    With a combination of its industry-leading fans and energy-efficient lighting products, Big Ass is improving working conditions in Australia and around the globe.
    Blazing Queensland temperatures and humidity were creating uncomfortable working conditions at XL Service Bodies, an industry-leading... Read More
  4. 07.11.2018
    07.11.2018
    by      In
    ABB has thrown its weight behind the OPC Foundation in its bid to define the worldwide industrial interoperability standard. The new Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard has the potential to enable industrial players to unlock the full potential of Industry 4.0.
    OPC UA... Read More