Established in 2016, Tage Idriver (踏歌智行) is without question one of the original pioneers in the development of autonomous haulage in open-pit mines in China. It modified the first domestic large mining truck for autonomous operation at the Bayan Obo iron ore and rare earths mine, plus it designed China’s first autonomous haulage solution for open-pit mining with the architecture of ‘vehicle – road – cloud,’ and it says it was the first to continuously operate 24/7 autonomous haulage without a safety monitor (driver) at China Energy’s Shengli No.1 coal mine, which it says was the first L4 autonomous driving in Chinese mining. Safety drivers had previously been present in all Chinese “autonomous” mining trucks.
On September 30 this year, Tage Idriver also took another major step when it launched a new hybrid autonomous rigid wide-body mining truck model, the TG136HA. There are generally two kinds of mining trucks in China, one of which is the traditional rigid truck with payload capacities of 100 -400 tons, while the other is the articulated wide-body truck with payload capacities of less than 100 tons. The new TG136HA, as a rigid wide-body mining truck, can handle over 100 ton payloads, run without a driver or monitor on board and consume 30% less fuel. Tage Driver told IM that it does this thanks to its leading autonomous driving system, highly-integrated EIC system, and efficient energy recovery system. In the near future, Tage says the model will also have options to be powered by battery, methanol or hydrogen fuel cells.
Trucks running at Shengli No.1 mine in China using Tage Driver AHS with no safety driver
Tage Idriver currently has over 400 autonomous mining trucks running in China including both factory-installed and retrofitted trucks, across coal mines, quarry & aggregate operations and metal mines, representing orders of over RMB 1 billion. The company also commented on the challenges of deploying autonomy in China. For example, at Zijin Mining Group’s Julong copper mine at an altitude of over 5,300 m in Tibet, the autonomous trucks and haulage system have to conquer extreme cold, snow and wind.
Another example is the deployment of Tage Idriver’s system at the Dexing copper mine, where high rainfall and humidity plus regular poor visibility bring great challenges for the AHS vehicle control, sensors and algorithms. Tage Idriver says its autonomous haulage solution has also been proven not only in extreme weathers, but also complex road conditions such as large-curvature bends and steep gradients, but also a wide range of operational tasks including loading and unloading at waste dumps or crushing stations.
Apart from autonomous trucks and haulage, Tage Idriver also provides autonomous haulage operation services. At China Resources Cement’s mine near Guangzhou, it operates the autonomous haulage system which covers the whole mine, covering 38 battery electric and autonomous wide-body dump trucks running 24/7. The statistics show that this operation saves 60% in labour costs, 91% in energy/fuel consumption costs, and has had an improvement of 26% in overall mining efficiency.
The aforementioned three services (truck, solution and operation) are also supported by a cutting-edge technical team. It consists of academics from the China Engineering Academy, professors from technical schools, talented postdoctoral students and experienced experts in vehicles and mining. Tage Idriver and its Founder Yu Guizhen have no less than 340 invention patents for autonomous driving pending or granted as of today.
Data from CCID Consulting, China’s largest research, consulting and IT outsourcing service company, cites Tage Idriver as ranking first in its sector with a 45.1% market share of autonomous driving for mining in China.
Tage Idriver is now taking the next step and is currently engaging with partners outside of China, such as truck manufacturers, conveyor system providers as well as mining groups, to expand its business into the global market, including but not limited to Australia, Brazil, Peru and Mongolia. With its experience in meeting diverse and challenging mining requirements, Tage Idriver says it is confident of delivering safe, low-carbon, efficient and economic autonomous haulage services to global customers.