Komatsu and Toyota to develop autonomous light vehicle that will run on Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System
Komatsu Ltd. (hereafter “Komatsu”) (President and CEO: Hiroyuki Ogawa) and Toyota Motor Corporation (hereafter “Toyota”) (Operating Officer, President: Koji Sato) are pleased to announce the launch of a joint project to develop an Autonomous Light Vehicle (hereafter “ALV”) that will run on Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System (hereafter “AHS”). To realize further safety and productivity improvements in mines by running autonomous haul trucks and automated ALV controlled by AHS, Komatsu and Toyota are launching an effort to jointly develop new technologies. Both companies are currently testing a concept ALV at their proving grounds, and plan to have a proof of concept at a customer site by around January 2024.
Minerals and energy resources are essential in our lives and industries. Autonomy offers the opportunity to remove people from harm’s way and enhance safety. It can allow our mining customers the ability to continue the hard work of providing critical minerals despite the ongoing challenge of labor shortages in the mining industry. It can also provide additional safety measures to mine sites on which multiple pieces of equipment are operated, in an effort to reduce accidents due to human error.
Since the launch of the world’s first commercial application of an AHS in 2008, Komatsu has established proven performance in various mine environments and has earned a reputation for safety and productivity. Currently, when AHS-enabled autonomous haul trucks and manual light vehicles used for maintenance or transport are running on haulage roads at the same time, autonomous haul trucks may decrease their speed or stop when passing light vehicles to avoid possible collisions caused by human error. On the other hand, customer demand for improved productivity in mine operations when it comes to autonomous haul truck operating efficiency remains an issue.
In light of those circumstances and in an effort to solve those issues quickly, Komatsu and Toyota have joined together to accelerate autonomy in mines. Komatsu will develop a new management program for ALVs on its AHS supervisory system, and Toyota will develop ALVs running automatically under AHS control.