Komatsu Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation are launching a joint project to create an Autonomous Light Vehicle (ALV) that operates on Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System (AHS). This venture aims to enhance safety and productivity in mining operations through autonomous vehicles and AHS-controlled ALV. Both firms are presently trialing a concept ALV at their testing sites, with a proof of concept expected at a customer location by January 2024.
Why It Matters
Minerals and energy resources are vital to society, and the introduction of autonomous technology in mining operations can significantly enhance safety and productivity. By reducing the need for human involvement, the technology mitigates labor shortages in the industry and decreases the risk of accidents caused by human error. Autonomous solutions can also improve overall site safety where multiple pieces of machinery are in operation.
Komatsu introduced the first commercial AHS application globally in 2008 and has since demonstrated reliable performance in diverse mining environments. Currently, autonomous haul trucks utilizing AHS often slow down or stop when encountering manually operated light vehicles to avoid collisions. This response, although safe, reduces operational efficiency and productivity, which has led to a demand for improved solutions.
In response, Komatsu and Toyota are accelerating the incorporation of autonomy into mining operations. Komatsu will develop a new management program for ALVs under its AHS supervision, while Toyota will create ALVs that automatically operate under AHS control.
Through the combined operation of Komatsu’s autonomous haul trucks and Toyota’s ALVs, utilizing a shared AHS, the joint venture aims to significantly enhance safety and productivity across mining operations. The project will focus on enabling ALVs to operate safely along haul roads, minimizing the risk of accidents, and avoiding any decrease in autonomous haul trucks’ speed due to manual vehicles.
With a history of successful AHS deployment, Komatsu aims to continue creating value and moving towards a more sustainable future. Likewise, Toyota’s commitment to safety and automation aligns with its vision of “Mobility for All.” This joint venture between Komatsu and Toyota is a significant step towards realizing safer, smarter, and cleaner mining operations, fostering a more sustainable and prosperous society for future generations.