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First driverless Kenworth C509s arrive in the Pilbara

The first of 150 Kenworth C509s featuring autonomous technology have arrived in the Pilbara, ready to be put to work in coming months, hauling up to 330 tonnes of iron ore.

They were transported via drop deck trailers, making the 1280km journey from Perth to Onslow, over two and a half days.

The trucks will be used to support Mineral Resources’ (MinRes) Onslow Iron project.

They’ll be based at MinRes’ Truck Maintenance Facility near Onslow, where they will undergo a series of trials and verification before they begin autonomous operations.

According to MinRes director of technology and innovation, David Geraghty, autonomous road trains are set to become a game changer for the industry.

“The prime movers are being progressively fitted out with autonomous technology by autonomy specialist Hexagon. It’s fantastic to see the first batch arrive in Onslow in preparation of first ore mid-2024,” he said.

“They will initially commence as manned operations, with trials and verifications with safety drivers to occur later in the year before we transition to autonomous operations.”

They will travel on a 150km dedicated and fenced haul road running from Ken’s Bore mine site to the MinRes Transhipping Terminal at the Port of Ashburton.

MinRes project manager Marcus Kenny believes the road trains will enhance road safety by eliminating interactions with public vehicles.

“The haul road is separate to public roads, with tunnels under North West Coastal Highway and Onslow Road, and fenced to keep stock and wild animals off the road,” Kenny said.

“Autonomy in mining isn’t about replacing people – it’s about taking them out of dangerous situations and employing their skills elsewhere.”

A total of 150 trucks will be fitted with autonomous technology, with about 10 expected to be completed each month.

To support the autonomous haulage operations, MinRes will employ automation specialists, dispatch and logistic offices, mechanics and auto electricians.


The post First driverless Kenworth C509s arrive in the Pilbara appeared first on Big Rigs.

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