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Mining automation technology has revolutionized the way mining operations are conducted, enabling the controlling of machines remotely, automating multiple types of equipment across a fleet, and even implementing an autonomous fleet of haul trucks. To gain insight into how this advanced technology is being utilized around the world, Komatsu recently hosted a group of users and distributors at its Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG) facility in Tucson, Arizona for an Automation Global User Forum.

At the forum, attendees got a first look at an autonomous light vehicle (ALV) that Komatsu and Toyota are jointly developing. This ALV is capable of receiving directional commands from Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), and can integrate with and operate alongside a Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet. This technology provides an incredible array of use cases, such as mountaintop mining, mining in ice/snow, high altitude mining, and even high temperature/desert mining.

Martin Cavassa, manager of automation business development at Komatsu, spoke to the incredible potential of this technology by saying, “Interoperability is the cornerstone of our mining automation strategy. The autonomous light vehicle we’ve developed with Toyota enables a variety of scenarios where machine-to-machine interactions occur. This is an exciting development, as it will enable the development of advanced solutions that can be adapted to mining sites in diverse geographic and environmental conditions.”

The tremendous potential of mining automation technology was evident in the incredible insights shared by participants at the forum. From remote control capabilities to autonomous fleets, to the development of the autonomous light vehicle, the Automation Global User Forum highlighted the power of this cutting-edge technology. As mining operations continue to evolve and automation technology advances, it will be interesting to see what new use cases and applications emerge.