Fortescue’s autonomous haul fleet surpasses two billion tonnes milestone

Fortescue Metals Group’s (Fortescue) autonomous haul (AHS) fleet has marked a significant milestone moving two billion tonnes of material, doubling the amount hauled since reaching the one billion tonne milestone in September 2019.

In 2012, Fortescue was the first in the world to deploy Caterpillar Inc’s autonomous haulage technology on a commercial scale at its Solomon Hub operations and the multi-class fleet has since expanded across the Company’s Pilbara operations with a total of 193 autonomous trucks now in operation.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said, “Fortescue is a leader in the implementation of autonomous haulage across our iron ore operations. Our fleet represents one of the largest in the world, with 79 trucks currently in operation at Solomon, 74 at Christmas Creek and 40 at Cloudbreak.

“Moving over two billion tonnes of material without a driver at the wheel is a significant milestone and a reflection of Fortescue’s ongoing commitment to increasing operational efficiency through technology and innovation.

“Most importantly, the introduction of AHS technology has led to significant safety improvements for our team members, with our fleet safely travelling over 70 million kilometres to date – the equivalent of 91 return trips to the moon,” Ms Gaines said.

The continued expansion of autonomous capability across the business has demonstrated that autonomy doesn’t need to be at the expense of jobs, with the transition to autonomous haulage providing significant new opportunities for Fortescue’s workforce through the provision of training and redeployment to new roles.

Ms Gaines said, “Significantly, the adoption of autonomous haulage has allowed us to relocate many traditional site-based roles to our integrated operations centre in Perth, providing opportunities for parents and women in particular to remain engaged in our workforce. Today, almost 50 per cent of our workforce in the Fortescue Hive are women.”

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