ver the past five years, global mining and
construction equipment giant Komatsu has
pioneered the use of its Autonomous Haulage
System (AHS) in large mining operations – with its Front-
Runner autonomous trucks recently passing a landmark
milestone of 330 million tonnes of material moved.
Based on conventional large mining trucks, Komatsu’s
FrontRunner trucks run completely autonomously – they
are not remotely controlled – with a full truck fleet able
to be monitored by a single controller located up to thou-
sands of kilometres away.
They are able to operate around-the-clock, 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, delivering significant safety, pro-
ductivity, reliability, performance and operational benefits
to mine fleet owners.
According to Komatsu Australia’s Managing Director
Sean Taylor, Komatsu leads the way globally in the suc-
cessful implementation of autonomous haulage systems
in production mining.
“The development program for our autonomous
trucks concepts goes back to the 1990s, so we’ve
put many years of research and development
into the safe, productive and reliable operation of
autonomous trucks, both in Australia and around
“No other manufacturer has our depth of
experience, and successful production record in
Komatsu FrontRunner trucks are typically loaded by
conventionally operated manned loading tools – such as
shovels or front-end loaders – hauling either overbur-
den to waste dumps or paddock dumps for spreading, or
mined resources to the crusher area or stockpiles.
Each truck incorporates a combination of vehicle
controllers, precision GPS, an obstacle detection system
(ODS) using radar and laser, and a wireless network sys-
tem developed by Komatsu.
The AHS Central Control System incorporates a de-
tailed map of the mine area, including haul roads, loading
areas, dump areas and refuelling and maintenance areas,
and assigns required routes to each truck, whether over-
burden hauling or ore hauling.
Each loading tool is also fitted with high precision GPS
and an integrated touch-screen computer showing the
location and direction of movement of all items of mobile
plant within the FrontRunner fleet’s operations area.
Haulage Systempasses 330million
Contractors World International Vol 6 No 4
Contractors World International