SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS * Australia: 416 TON VEHICLES
* West Angelas - 416-ton trucks are hauling raw materials
--- Self-driving trucks have begun to hit the roads in the United States, but they’re already hard at work in Australia... British mining company Rio Tinto has 73 autonomous behemoths transporting iron ore 24 hours a day in West Angelas, Australia, across four job sites, according to MIT Tech Review. The autonomous fleet is roughly 15% cheaper than one with human drivers... The trucks, made by Japanese manufacturer Komatsu, weigh 416 tons and use a mix of GPS, radar, and laser sensors to navigate a site. Their job is simple: go to a load site, wait to be filled with iron ore, and then drive to another location. Komatsu estimates that their autonomous trucks have already hauled 1 billion tons of material, mainly in Australia and Chile... The human team overseeing the robots work 750 miles away, according to MIT Tech Review, far from being able to physically take action should something go wrong... However, the fact remains that these machines are replacing well-paying jobs. And mining certainly isn’t the end. While the work sites can be more complex, construction is also fertile ground for automation. Construction inspection might be a first step towards automation in the field, like automatically assessing railway tracks or using drones for building inspections...
(AP Photo/Matthew Brown - In this Nov. 15, 2016 photo, a mechanized shovel loads coal from an 80-feet thick seam into a haul truck at Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine near Decker, Mont. Coal from the mine is shipped to power plants for generating electricity) -- Australia - Quartz, by Dave Gershgorn - December 29, 2016