Dump Truck

Autonomous haulage technology will be introduced at BHP’s Goonyella Riverside Mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, with driverless trucks boosting efficiency and safety at the mine in Barada Barna country.

BHP Coal Field Officer Mandy-Jo said each truck is fitted with lasers at the front and back, meaning potential obstacles can be flagged instantly, and allowing the vehicle to stop automatically.

“We have a lot of processes on the Front Runner system itself, a lot of safety features,” Mandy-Jo said.

“I have a program on my computer system in my car where I can actually suspend the truck itself and it will completely stop, put its stairs down and I can physically walk up into the truck.

“Being able to control these mega machines from just a little light vehicle, I can be a hundred yards away and watch and control what they’re doing.”

Operators are able to switch autonomous trucks over to manual using a key when investigating potential operational problems. 

Additionally, a colour-coded system allows workers to easily identify vehicles during the night shift. 

“For instance, heavy vehicles have green flashing lights, light vehicles have orange lights and now all the autonomous equipment has blue flashing lights. So, it’s almost like Christmas year-round out here,” Mandy-Jo said.

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