Autonomous vehicle (AV) technology is already changing the landscape of the mining industry. Mines that operate with an autonomous haulage system (AHS) are reaping the rewards of higher productivity and lower accident rates. Furthermore, implementing an AHS offers remarkable cost benefits.
Yet, some mining operators may be reluctant to use an autonomous truck at their sites. It’s often assumed that the technology is simply too complicated and inaccessible. Although it’s true that the brain behind the autonomous truck (the software) is highly complex, you don’t need to be a software engineer to use the equipment effectively. In fact, if you can use a smartphone, you can operate an AHS by Pronto Offroad. With our remarkable innovations, all it takes is an app to control your mining vehicles.
Consider this: Integrating Pronto Offroad’s AV tech into just one mining truck offers a 20% reduction in driver costs, 15% reduction in tire wear, and 10% reduction in fuel consumption—all without an upfront investment.
Introducing Simplistic AV Technology
When we set out to build our AV technology, we took a close look at what our competitors were doing. We realized that mining operators who purchased an autonomous truck or fleet through our competitors had to undergo a multi-year site feasibility study. Then, an advanced telecommunications network had to be built especially for that site, along with a new control building—all for the purpose of controlling the site’s AHS.
We believe this approach is needlessly complicated. What’s more, the years-long preparation process is a significant hindrance to mines that may only be in operation for a few years. As a result, we developed our AV tech to be as simplistic and accessible as possible. Instead of requiring a multi-year site study, an advanced control building, and a telecommunications network at each mining operation, we’ve built our system to be controlled easily and remotely with just a smartphone. Plus, our autonomous truck tech features the following:
- Simple user interface: Operators who use our AHS software love the simple, user-friendly interface. The dispatcher can use a tablet or smartphone to monitor and communicate with the entire AHS, and issue commands as needed. Field personnel and remote office personnel alike can easily use the app.
- System health checks: Our AHS software runs itself, which means you don’t need to be a computer programmer to use it. It continuously monitors all AHS hardware and the drive-by-wire system, which seamlessly controls the vehicle’s throttle, steering, braking, and shifting functions. If critical issues are detected, the unit will automatically pause and issue an alert. Non-critical issues result in an alert; a dispatcher can then decide to issue a remote shutdown. Furthermore, since we use the publisher-subscriber model for our software, our AHS can make continual improvements to itself as it learns over time.
- Incident decision-making: Our AHS software is able to continually identify nearby moving and static objects, classify them, and respond appropriately. In addition, we can program the system to react appropriately to various scenarios in accordance with the unique requirements of your site.
- Route programming capabilities: Most autonomous technology is designed to operate the vehicle in the moment. Ours not only makes as-needed driving decisions, but it also learns and adapts from the routes driven and the logged footage that results. In other words, driving the truck through the route easily allows the truck to be programmed with that route—no software programming knowledge required. Furthermore, once one autonomous truck drives a route, the rest of the fleet is automatically programmed with that route. Trucks have the capability to seamlessly switch back and forth between pre-recorded routes.
Our software is complex and robust enough to handle the demands of the most challenging environments, yet it’s simple enough that anyone can easily learn how to use it. And we won’t leave your site until all of your operators are fully trained.
Comprehensive Training Is Included
With Pronto’s hardware and software retrofitted to your autonomous trucks, your fleet can safely and efficiently navigate routes, and even automatically dump their loads at the stockpile or crusher. Although our AHS technology can fully automate your trucks, there is a minimal degree of human oversight required.
When you choose Pronto Offroad to be your AHS partner, you’ll receive full, comprehensive training included, with no upfront costs. We will thoroughly train all mine workers and vehicle operators on the use of AV technology and its maintenance. We won’t leave your site until each worker completely understands their tasks and can perform them flawlessly.
Full Support for Unmanned Operations
The implementation of our AHS technology at your mine site will follow a three-stage process. Phase one is the planning stage and phase two is the preparation for autonomy (including the training of all site personnel). Phase three is unmanned operations, during which time you will begin using your new AHS in earnest.
Pronto Offroad continues to provide onsite support during phase three. We’ll track the efficiency of each vehicle, analyzing their performance and cross-referencing that data against data from manned units. Phase three also involves routine check-ins with site and corporate management to ensure the AHS technology is meeting expectations. It’s all part of our full-service approach, designed to ensure your complete satisfaction with your newly autonomous trucks.
As you can see, anyone can easily be trained in the use and maintenance of our autonomous haulage system technology. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist in order to implement AV technology and enjoy greater safety, efficiency, and cost savings. Simply contact Pronto Offroad for more information and find out how our tech can improve your operations.