Marking a further and substantial milestone for AutoHaul™, Hitachi Rail and Rio Tinto have now commissioned the impressive autonomous rail transport system for the latest Gudai-Darri iron ore mine which is located in Western Australia's Pilbara.
The development of the greenfield mine has seen a 166km rail spur created in order to join up the new mine with Rio Tinto's current AutoHaul™ rail network.
AutoHaul™ is the world's very first fully automated heavy-haul, long-distance rail network with 220 trains which are remotely operated via a centre in Perth. The trains make their journey both safely and efficiently over a massive 1,866km of tracks to the port with no need for onboard drivers.
Hitachi Rail has been the technical lead for AutoHaul™'s development and has put in place both systems and software in order to join the new section of rail for Gudai-Darri. The project has also seen onboard and control centre technology, as well as trackside equipment, radio base stations, automatic train operation (ATO), interface software for locomotive control, level crossing safety and location tracking.
The AutoHaul™ systems and software are now fully operational after its first production test run alongside further successful system commissioning.
Hitachi Rail Australia Senior Director Roslyn Stuart said:
“The Gudai-Darri AutoHaul™ network expansion project is a natural extension of Hitachi Rail's long-term collaboration to deliver innovative rail transport solutions for Rio Tinto. The project has seen Hitachi Rail and the Rio Tinto AutoHaul™ team deliver another ‘first', with back-to-back loading (high performing automated train loading) to be introduced on the Gudai-Darri mine rail loop.”
Operating the world's biggest integrated portfolio of iron ore assets, Rio Tinto has made a strong commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions. The new Gudai-Darri mine will see the use of autonomous haul trucks, fully automated water trucks alongside autonomous training solutions which will be partly powered using a 34-megawatt photovoltaic solar farm solar plant.
Hitachi Rail is renowned around the world for autonomous and signalling technology with a recent significant contract in Australia which will see the installation of innovative technology which will see elements of Queensland New Generation Rail fleet automated. The huge AU$107 million project will see Hitachi Rail install Automatic Train Operation over European Train Control System Level 2 technology for all of Queensland's New Generation Rail fleet.