Komatsu and Toyota to develop autonomous light vehicle that will run on Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System
Komatsu Ltd. (Komatsu) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) 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.
Purpose of the Project
By operating Komatsu’s autonomous haul trucks and Toyota’s ALVs in mine sites utilizing a common AHS, the following safety and productivity improvements will be realized across the mining operation:
- ALVs operating safely along haul roads.
- Prevent accidental contact caused by driver, as may happen with existing manual light vehicles.
- Minimize speed reductions or brief stops of autonomous haul trucks while passing light vehicles on a haul road.
Toyota’s ALV autonomous light vehicle accelerates further improvements and adds functions that contribute to safety and productivity.
- Autonomous transfer of parts for other mining equipment working in the field.
- Autonomous transfer of equipment operators for other machines such as loading equipment or bulldozers
Role of each company
Komatsu: Develop a new ALV management program on its AHS.
Toyota: Develop an ALV which runs autonomously under the control of the AHS.
Features of AHS
- Since Komatsu launched the world first commercial application of AHS in 2008, the company has deployed over 650 trucks at twenty-two (22) sites in five (5) countries. (As of May 2023)
- Komatsu AHS has earned a high reputation for safety and productivity from major global resource companies.
Toyota makes safety a top priority and aims for zero casualties from traffic accidents as its ultimate goal. Toyota has been developing safe and automated driving technologies as part of its vision to provide “Mobility for All.” In this development collaboration with Komatsu, Toyota’s automatic driving technologies will be utilized to contribute to the safety of people in their workplace.
Komatsu will strive to create new values in order to take steady steps forward to the next stage for the workplace of the future and pass on a sustainable future to the next generation through the DANTOTSU Value. DANTOTSU Value is defined as customer value creation that generates a positive cycle of improvement of earnings and ESG resolutions in Komatsu’s mid-term management plan, entitled “DANTOTSU Value – Together, to ‘The Next’ for sustainable growth”.
Komatsu and Toyota share a vision for developing an affluent and sustainable society to pass on the next generation. To do that, we are accelerating our efforts to realize smart and clean future mine sites, leading to higher safety and productivity for our customer and partners.