Swedish truckmaker Scania is teaming up with mining corporation Rio Tinto to develop autonomous haul trucks in Australia, the companies announced Oct. 14.
The partnership launched trials of Scania’s 40-metric-ton-payload autonomous mining trucks in April. These tested driverless operations in simulated cycles of loading and hauling.
Now Rio Tinto’s Channar mine in western Australia’s Pilbara region will become the first active partner site for Scania’s autonomous mining solution.
“Rio Tinto is excited to partner with Scania to develop a mining solution which will create optionality across our diverse portfolio,” Santi Pal, Rio Tinto Group’s technical managing director, said in a statement. “Collaboration and partnership is key to reimagining mining in the future.”
The aim of these autonomous trucks include environmental and productivity benefits.
“With its dedication to achieving cleaner, more energy-efficient operations, Rio Tinto is the ideal partner and first customer for Scania as we seek to put mining on a pathway to net zero emissions,” Peter Hafmar, Scania’s vice president and head of autonomous solutions, said in a statement. “This is a major step towards the goals of a sustainable autonomous mining solution, and builds on our already fruitful long-term collaboration.”
The new partnership also includes options for a future transition to electric-powered vehicles. Traton, Scania’s parent company, expects the total cost of ownership of battery-electric trucks will be comparable to that of diesel vehicles in the near future, with a tendency to significantly undercut them from the mid-2020s onward.
“Our climate action plan includes phasing out the purchase of new diesel haul trucks by 2030, and partnering with industry leaders, such as Scania, across a range of fields, is an important step towards achieving that,” Pal said in a statement. “As well as the potential decarbonization benefits, this partnership provides a path to potential productivity improvements.”
Scania and Rio Tinto partnered earlier in 2018 in tests of a Scania XT 8×4 autonomous mining tipper truck at Rio Tinto’s Dampier Salt operations in western Australia.