Autonomous AutoHaul is World’s Largest Robot

Things just seem bigger in Australia. From crocodiles to sharks to beer. Now the country can boast the world’s biggest robot.

AutoHaul in Pilbara Is World’s First Automated Long Distance Rail Network

Iron Ore company Rio Tinto has successfully launched AutoHaul which is the first automated heavy-haul, long-distance rail network in the world. It’s located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The automated trains travel about a 500 mile trip back and forth between mine and port. The journey along with the loading and dumping of cargo takes about 40 hours.

Rio Tinto Autohaul is world's biggest robot and first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network in the world - YellRobot
credit: Rio Tinto

AutoHaul is Monitored From Operations Centre

Along with the AutoHaul, the trains are equipped with safety cameras that are constantly monitored by the Operations Centre. According to the company, all public rail crossings on the network are fitted with CCTV cameras and have been upgraded to the highest safety standards.

Since AutoHaul completed its first run in July, Rio Tinto has increased the number of trips with about 622,000 miles traveled autonomously. The company believes AutoHaul has the potential to transform the productivity and efficiency of the 1,056 mile network between their 16 iron ore mines and two ports.

“It is the first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network in the world. The successful deployment is the culmination of a $940 million project and has the potential to transform the productivity and flexibility of the 1,700-kilometer network between our 16 iron ore mines and two ports.”, said a representative for Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto Autohaul is world's biggest robot and first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network in the world - YellRobot
credit: Rio Tinto

Autonomous Trains a Benefit to Employees

As far as current employees go, the company stated the new automated train lines shouldn’t cause any layoffs. They feel the automation will be a benefit to drivers helping improve safety and reduce employee fatigue.

“We are already seeing cycle time improvements through consistent driving strategies and productivity benefits by removing the need for driver changeovers, There are also benefits to safety. It greatly reduces the 1.5 million kilometers of light vehicle travel by drivers who have had to travel to meet trains for changeovers. Other benefits include reduced risk at level crossings and automated responses by the train to speed restrictions and incidents.”, said the spokesperson.


Check out our articles on autonomous delivery robots and drones that deliver coffee.

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