How to drive an automatic

THERE’S a certain sci-fi seductiveness to fully automating a rail system to the driverless level, but miners eager to follow on the heels of Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul initiative may need to screech on the airbrakes.

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Hailed as an Australian first, the AutoHaul project is aiming to introduce autonomous heavy-haul trains to Rio’s bottlenecked Western Australian rail network by mid-2014.