Bloomberg Businessweek Story Features Pronto’s Self-Driving Success
While self-driving cars navigating our roadways are still more dream than reality, autonomous trucks – powered by Pronto technology – are an industry success story by hauling ore at production mining sites every day.
In a Bloomberg Businessweek story, Max Chafkin writes how, with few exceptions, autonomous driving has fallen short of its lofty promises.
Max spoke with our CEO Anthony Levandowski, which the article called “the engineer who more or less created the model for self-driving research,” to get an expert view on the state of self-driving vehicles and find out where the technology is being successful. Pronto was highlighted as an autonomous vehicle industry leader that is delivering real value to real customers today.
The article traces our roots in developing self-driving systems for trucks to navigate unpredictable public roadways and applying this technology to address controlled environments, like mines and quarries.It notes, “Pronto took the same basic system it had used on the semis and built it into a self-driving dump truck, adding cameras, radar, and an onboard computer. Because connectivity is spotty at mine sites, the company created its own networking technology, which it spun off as a separate company, Pollen Mobile LLC.”
Pronto AHS Provides Value for BoDean
The story discusses our customer BoDean Co., which “is one of a half-dozen clients that pay installation fees to retrofit dump trucks with sensors, plus hourly fees for use.
It describes how BoDean is using the Pronto autonomous haulage system (AHS):
“For nine-ish hours each day, two modified Bell articulated end-dumps take turns driving the 200 yards from the pit to the crusher. The road is rutted, steep, narrow, requiring the trucks to nearly scrape the cliff wall as they rattle down the roller-coaster-like grade. But it’s the same exact trip every time, with no edge cases—no rush hour, no school crossings, no daredevil scooter drivers—and instead of executing an awkward multipoint turn before dumping their loads, the robot trucks back up the hill in reverse, speeding each truck’s reloading.”
The story includes comments from Anthony Boyle, BoDean’s director of production, who “says the Pronto trucks save four to five hours of labor a day, freeing up drivers to take over loaders and excavators. Otherwise, he says, nothing has changed. ‘It’s just yellow equipment doing its thing, and you stay out of its way.’”
Delivering Autonomous Haulage Today
Complex industrial sites like mines and quarries rely on our AHS to improve productivity and safety, and lower costs.