Rio perfects edge dumping with its ‘Right Sized’ autonomous Scania trucks

Rio Tinto and Scania have a long-term research and development collaboration agreement for the continuous advancement of autonomous mining truck technology, under which Rio Tinto’s Channar iron ore mine became the first active partner site for Scania’s autonomous mining solution, following early stage work at Dampier Salt. The partnership also includes options for the future transition to electric-powered vehicles.

The focus has been on Scania 8×4 XT 40 t class tipper trucks and a major part of the work has been looking at the issue of the sweet spot in truck size and class. Rio Tinto has said that it is challenging its thinking on size and why size matters. “Larger haul trucks, while already automated, consume more energy than current electric-vehicle power sources can generate. By exploring truck size, we want to assess how big and small trucks can both be a part of the solution to reduce our emissions in the Pilbara and find fit-for-purpose solutions in mining.” In fact it is even referring to the program now as the ‘Right Sized Autonomous Haulage System.”

James Davison, General Manager – Surface Mining and Technology at Rio Tinto – revealed recently that in Q1 2023 it had achieved something no other miner has been able to do before – safely and successfully edge dump from these ‘Right Sized’ autonomous trucks. He added: “Thank you to our site-based team at Channar, our technical gurus from Group Technical & RTIO and our partner, Scania, for finding better ways to improve our right sized autonomous haul trucks and make them safer.”

A video published by Rio Tinto of the autonomous edge dumping states: “Notice how this truck is emptying its tray over the edge? This accounts for 90% of ‘dumping’ activity across our sites. And its a major milestone in our Right Sized Autonomous Haulage System truck journey. Nearly 1,000 engineering and testing hours were spent so we can safely edge dump with our Right Sized autonomous trucks.”