Driverless equipment technology is drastically changing the face of mining

Driverless equipment technology is drastically changing the face of mining

Disruptive improvements in driverless technology have enabled heavy-duty equipment manufacturers to produce autonomous drills, railways and trucks for the mining industry. Although there have been some speed bumps along the way, the autonomous mining devices are quickly being adopted as the way of the future by mining companies all over the world. Driverless haulage vehicles alone improve productivity by as much as 20 percent. All automated systems have the potential to decrease employee risk by removing individuals from hazardous areas. The following mining technology producers are swiftly changing mining into an almost fully automated industry.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto fully reimagined the mining process by creating or adopting autonomous technology for every phase of the process. This effort has been branded “The Mine of the Future” by the company, reflecting its total reinvention of equipment and operations in the mining field. Autonomous technology utilized on the various sites includes drilling systems, haulage trucks and a long distance railway.

The team initially set their sights on reducing the environmental and financial impact of mining equipment through the perfection of automation. Additional benefits are improved safety statistics and better working conditions for the equipment operators. These skilled individuals work in a central operations center in Perth to control and monitor multiple types of equipment at the same time.


After producing multiple vital safety systems for traditional mining equipment, ASI transferred their attention into designing hardware and software for autonomous vehicle systems. The newly designed programs transform traditional equipment, such as articulated dump trucks, rigid haul trucks, bulldozers, and excavators, into driverless devices.

The autonomous system upgrade, called NAV, has consistently proven itself as a drastic improvement in safety and productivity across the board. The device also monitors the health of the vehicle in real-time to reduce unexpected component wear or damage. Operators can control the equipment remotely or using teleoperation. ASI also integrates powerful AI software into the NAV system for mining professionals interested in switching to full automation of their mining procedures.


Sandvik currently focuses all of its attention on creating an integrated automated surface drilling system called AutoMine. The system is almost completely automated, with individuals supervising the mining actions from the control room. In addition to watching the actual action of the drilling equipment on a view screen, multiple real-time measurements come through to confirm data, such as positioning, used to accurately complete the task at hand.

If the equipment needs corrections, the supervisors can provide direction using the controls within the station or teleremote devices. Operators can also switch through the drilling equipment options, all the way up to large rotary rigs, to select the perfect tool for the job. In addition to improving safety for drill operators, the automated systems improve efficiency by reaching ore considered inaccessible by onsite teams.


CAT has teamed up with the Thunder Basin Coal Company to develop and test automated dozers and haulers. The joint venture allows CAT to steadily move toward its goal of developing a full fleet of automated equipment. In the initial phase, the autonomous systems were installed on D11T dozers used for the reclamation and overburden removal processes, which are notoriously risky for onsite operators.

With the continued success of those processes, the company turned its attention toward large mining trucks and LHDs, or front end loaders, for underground mining operations. All of the partial and fully automated systems are monitored and operated by a skilled team of professionals working in a remote control center. A single individual can oversee multiple pieces of equipment at a time using the provided real-time metrics and camera views.

The future of mining

With driverless technology expanding across every sector, autonomous mining equipment will only continue to improve in productivity while dropping in cost. Eventually, mining equipment industry-wide will be manned from within a control center or preprogrammed for each phase of the mining process. Due to the expense of the equipment, autonomous technology developers extensively test their systems to avoid rolling out a dangerously incomplete control mechanism or software program.

Across every industry, worries about automation revolve around skilled job elimination for all but the select few accepted for the control room positions. Although adoption of this technology has the potential to cause a downward trend of job availability, the safety improvements alone may make the switch well worth the initial growing pains. Keeping the operators far from potential hazards and pitfalls could transform the industry from one of the most dangerous for workers to the safest.

In an industry with ongoing labor shortages, however, a downward tick in skilled job demand may actually be accepted with open arms. With operators having the ability to control multiple vehicles from the control room, problems associated with recurring seasonal labor shortages could quickly disappear, resulting in steady productivity year round. Drivers interested in remaining in the industry can receive the training they need to move into the control room and remotely pilot the automated vehicles.

Recent News

Versatile Carmix takes concrete to North Mara Gold Mine in Tanzania
    The gold mine in North Mara is situated in the north-west of Tanzania, at about 100 kilometres east of Lake Victoria and 20 kilometres south of the border with Kenya. The gold mine works an average of 8,000 tonnes of minerals a day and produced 287,188 ounces of gold in 2015. The gold
Workers’ Memorial Day, observed each year on April 28, honors workers killed, injured, or made ill at work. Since 1992, BLS has collected data on both nonfatal work injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, and fatal work injuries. In 2015, the occupations with the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses
The undercarriage of a machine represents a significant portion of a piece of equipment’s purchase price. Proper maintenance and operation practices are critical for protecting your equipment investment. Undercarriage maintenance is critical to the overall productivity of a machine. It is the mechanism that gives tracked machines much of their power and stability. It also
Deere Adds 8-Year / 20K Hour Warranty on 944K Electric-Drive Components
John Deere is now offering a 96-month / 20,000-hour power electronic components warranty on the Deere 944K hybrid wheel loader. The warranty is retroactive to existing machines in the field and provided on new 944K loaders through October 31, 2018. The warranty includes a 96-month (eight-year) or 20,000-hour (whichever comes first) non-prorated assurance on wheel
  Vermeer’s Silver Series drill rod is composed of S135 common grade steel and is threaded in the same facility as the company’s Firestick drill rod with the same column wall thickness. The Silver Series drill rod is available in four sizes: 1.66-inch, 1.9-inch, 2.06-inch, and 2.375-inch, for use on the D7x11 through the D24x40
CHILE: Construcción regional cae 7,5% y suma dos meses con cifras en rojo
Datos de Cámara Chilena de la Construcción estimaron retroceso de 7,5% en febrero que se suma al -10% de enero. Se busca consolidar esfuerzos público-privados para enmendar el rumbo. Por primera vez desde el año 2002, cuando se comenzó a publicar el Índice de Actividad de la Construcción Regional (INACOR), la Región de Coquimbo inicia

About Us

In Tractopart we supply quality construction Parts and Heavy Equipment Parts with excellent discount rate for New , Used Rebuilt & Surplus parts for excavators, Wheel loader dozers, and undercarriage for all heavy equipment brands, we are locate in Miami, Fl

Contact Info


At Tractopart we focus on providing high quality parts at a great price. Our parts are subjected to rigorous inspection procedures that allow us to ensure product quality.

Phone: 786.219.1010
Main Office: 3505 South Ocean Drive #204
Hollywood, FL 33019