December 28, 2016

HOW GREENER WAS MY VALLEY:

Mining 24 Hours a Day with Robots : Mining companies are rolling out autonomous trucks, drills, and trains, which will boost efficiency but also reduce the need for human employees. (Tom Simonite  December 28, 2016, MIT Technology Review)

Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board.

Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia's Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas, the vehicles work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs. The company is also upgrading the locomotives that haul ore hundreds of miles to port--the upgrades will allow the trains to drive themselves, and be loaded and unloaded automatically.

Rio Tinto intends its automated operations in Australia to preview a more efficient future for all of its mines--one that will also reduce the need for human miners. The rising capabilities and falling costs of robotics technology are allowing mining and oil companies to reimagine the dirty, dangerous business of getting resources out of the ground.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, is also deploying driverless trucks and drills on iron ore mines in Australia. Suncor, Canada's largest oil company, has begun testing driverless trucks on oil sands fields in Alberta.

Posted by at December 28, 2016 12:39 PM

  

« THE KEY IS NOT TO ALLOW ANY CHOICE IN THE MATTER: | Main | CITIES WERE A MISTAKE: »