FMG rolls out autonomous light vehicles

FORTESCUE Metals Group has successfully deployed autonomous light vehicles at its Chichester Hub in the Pilbara.
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FMG's autnomous Ford Rangers

Staff reporter

Developed by Fortescue's Technology and Autonomy team as a solution to improve the efficiency of the Christmas Creek mobile maintenance team, the vehicles remove the need for fitters to make around 12,000 28km round trips annually to collect equipment and parts. 

With the assistance of Ford Australia, four Ford Rangers have been retrofitted with an on-board vehicle automation system to support the driverless equipment transfer service, which will improve efficiency and safety by enabling team members to spend more time on maintaining assets. 

The system features an integrated Lidar/Radar perception system that facilitates obstacle detection and dynamic obstacle avoidance, a comprehensive independent safety management and fail-safe braking system and extensive built-in system monitoring and fault response capability. 

FMG is now looking at deploying the vehicles at other sites.

"Since the outset, Fortescue has been at the forefront of innovation in the mining industry, underpinned by our value of generating ideas," FMG CEO Elizabeth Gaines said.

"It is this focus on technology and innovation that has driven our industry leading operational performance and cost position. 

"The autonomous light vehicle project is a significant advancement of our in-house automation capability, building on our leading autonomous haulage system (AHS) program which has already delivered significant productivity and efficiency improvements for the business. 

"With the flexibility to introduce similar systems into other mobile assets, this project is fundamental to our future mobile equipment automation projects." 

FMG already has more than 180 autonomous haul trucks running across its Pilbara operations.