This week, Komatsu announced the FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) has qualified to operate on private long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband technology. This is the mining industry’s first AHS enabled to run on private LTE in commercial operations, making way for ultra-high system availability and reliability, the company said.

Komatsu’s FrontRunner AHS allows unmanned operation of ultra-class mining trucks. It delivers significant benefits, including reduced worker exposure to harm, protocols designed to constantly improve mine-site safety, reduced operating costs, and increased productivity and efficiency, according to the company. The company completed a yearlong qualification program at the company’s proving grounds in Tucson, Arizona, conducting extensive testing of the FrontRunner AHS on Nokia’s Future X infrastructure, a provider of private LTE communication solutions for the mining industry.

“This industry milestone represents a key step in Komatsu’s exploration of private LTE and highlights Nokia’s role as the leading global supplier of mission-critical solutions and services for the mining industry,” said Luiz Steinberg, president and CEO of Modular Mining Systems, a Komatsu-owned company. “As the leader in autonomous haulage technology, we are firmly on our way to helping the industry move the next billion tons of material with autonomous technology. We have come together with Nokia to further this vision of delivering increased value to the mining industry.”

“We are excited to be engaging the mining automation market with Komatsu, a powerhouse in the industry, to further highlight the benefits of Future X for mining companies as a strategic advantage in their operations,” said Kathrin Buvac, president of Nokia Enterprise. “Private LTE is a key element in the Nokia Bell Labs Future X architecture to help industries such as mining create an intelligent, dynamic, high-performance network that increases the safety, productivity and efficiency of their business.”

Komatsu pioneered the first AHS for the mining industry with a commercial deployment in 2008 at Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral (Gaby) copper mine in Chile. Komatsu’s ongoing commitment to accelerate the pace of AHS adoption and innovation is reflected in the company’s other recent milestone, supporting customers to move 2 billion tons of surface material in the copper, iron ore, and oil sands industries autonomously.