MRL will incorporate automated triple-trailer, 425-mt road trains for hauling iron ore starting in 2023.

Hexagon recently announced the development of an automated road-train solution for large-scale iron-ore haulage in cooperation with Australia-based mining services company Mineral Resources Ltd. (MRL). The system will be phased in over the next two years.

MRL said autonomous road trains will form an essential part of the cost-efficient supply chain for its 30-million-mt/y Ashburton Hub iron ore project in Western Australia. The company plans to run a fleet of 425-mt Gross Combination Mass (GCM), triple-trailer road trains operating across multiple convoys, with each road train convoy consisting of up to five prime mover trucks with three trailers each, hauling ore from the mine to the port of Ashburton.

The autonomous road train solution integrates Hexagon’s drive-by-wire technology with an autonomous management system to orchestrate vehicle movement. MRL said a successful pilot project was under way at its Yilgarn operations using 385-mt GCM triple-trailer road trains, which have been tailored for the specific economic constraints of iron ore and other bulk commodities. During the next two years, the testing will continue, ramping up to 425-mt GCM in time for the Ashburton Hub project.