Mineral Resources (MinRes) has delivered Hexagon the inaugural custom off-road triple-road train intended for an autonomous road solution that would allow triple-trailer trains to haul ore from the Ashburton Hub project to the Port of Ashburton, surpassing the timeline by a month.
To mark this achievement, David Geraghty, MinRes’ Director of Technology and Innovation, alongside Gordan Dale, Hexagon’s Chief Synergy Officer of Autonomous Solutions, ceremonially handed over the keys to the highly tailored Kenworth C509 prime mover at Hexagon’s Perth workshop. Joining the celebration were Hexagon’s Executive Vice President of Core Autonomy, Mike Verheyn, and Vice President of Core Autonomy Engineering, John Buszek, who travelled to Perth to acknowledge this milestone.
Geraghty expressed the significance of this development for the Onslow Iron project, highlighting the integral role of autonomous trucks in the project’s logistics chain. He emphasized the multiple advantages of automation, such as bolstering road safety, amplifying operational efficiencies, and curbing emissions.
Under an agreement inked in late 2021, MinRes and Hexagon collaborated on crafting an autonomous road train solution for MinRes’ haulage fleet operating in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
Starting January 2024, the conversion of 10 vehicles per month is slated for the subsequent year to meet the demands of the Onslow Iron project, culminating in MinRes possessing a fleet of 120 fully autonomous road trains, as announced in July 2023.
Dale underscored the complementary nature of their partnership, citing MinRes’ leadership in mining services and Hexagon’s prowess in autonomous technical capabilities. He expressed enthusiasm for commencing the installation of autonomous technology at their Perth workshop, aiming to complete truck outfittings within a mere two to three days.
This groundbreaking technology, a collaborative effort between MinRes and Hexagon, prioritizes safety in its design, incorporating grade separation to ensure no interaction between the road trains on haul roads and vehicles using public roads.
Presently, the vehicles are undergoing testing with check drivers at MinRes sites situated in Western Australia’s Yilgarn region.