Komatsu has been on the cutting edge of autonomous mining for the past 30 years and the company remains at the forefront of the technology that is changing from concept to a full-fledged reality.
In 1996, Komatsu America Corp. (KAC) purchased a controlling interest in Modular Mining Systems; a move that enabled both companies to expand their product lines. It was through this effort that Modular helped to deploy the first autonomous haulage system (AHS) — the Komatsu FrontRunner system. In January 2008, the first commercial implementation of the FrontRunner system occurred at Codelco’s copper mine in Chile. Since then, Komatsu has put more than 130 haul trucks into seven sites on three continents to haul copper, iron ore and oil sands and its equipment has moved 1.8 Gt (2 billion st) of material with zero lost time incidents attributed to Komatsu’s autonomous trucks. The 1.8 Gt (2 billion st) is the most of any commercial mining autonomous haulage system and there is more to come. In November, Komatsu announced that an additional 150 autonomous haul trucks will be deployed to the Canadian oil sands over the next seven years.