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Online ozbob

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WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« on: October 04, 2017, 11:04:08 AM »
https://twitter.com/RioTinto/status/914652903322771456
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 03:00:53 AM by ozbob »
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Online ozbob

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WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 11:05:32 AM »
Rio Tinto --> Rio Tinto completes first fully autonomous rail journey in Western Australia



Quote
Rio Tinto has successfully completed the first fully autonomous rail journey at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia as the company progresses toward full commissioning of the AutoHaul® project in late 2018.

The nearly 100 kilometre pilot run was completed without a driver on board, making it the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia.

The journey was completed safely, being closely monitored in real-time by Rio Tinto teams and representatives of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, both on the ground and at the Operations Centre in Perth.

The successful pilot run from Wombat Junction to Paraburdoo is a significant step toward full commissioning of AutoHaul® in 2018 once all relevant safety and acceptance criteria have been met and regulatory approvals obtained.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said “This successful pilot run puts us firmly on track to meet our goal of operating the world’s first fully-autonomous heavy haul, long distance rail network, which will unlock significant safety and productivity benefits for the business.

“Gains from AutoHaul® are already being realised including reduced variability and increased speed across the network, helping to reduce average cycle times.

“Rio Tinto is proud to be a leader in innovation and autonomous technology in the global mining industry which is delivering long-term competitive advantages as we build the mines of the future. New roles are being created to manage our future operations and we are preparing our current workforce for new ways of working to ensure they remain part of our industry.”

Rio Tinto’s focus on automation technology and innovation is improving safety, is better for the environment and boosting productivity.

Notes to editors

The AutoHaul® project is focused on automating the trains that are essential to transporting the iron ore to our port facilities.

Trains started running in autonomous mode in the first quarter of 2017. Currently about 50 per cent of pooled fleet rail kilometres are completed in autonomous mode (with drivers on-board) and 90 percent of pooled fleet production tonnes are AutoHaul® enhanced.

Rio Tinto operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700 kilometres of track in the Pilbara, transporting ore from 16 mines to four port terminals.
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Online ozbob

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WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 12:11:47 PM »
https://twitter.com/RailExpressNews/status/915325835124514816
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Online ozbob

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WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 02:59:17 AM »
WA Today --> One HAL of a ride: Rio's Pilbara robot makes first iron ore delivery



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The world's largest robot made the world's first completely automated iron ore delivery on Tuesday.

Rio Tinto's autonomous train carried about 28,000 tonnes of iron ore more than 280 kilometres from Tom Price to the Cape Lambert port on July 10.

Operators in Rio Tinto’s Perth operations centre 1500 kilometres away monitored the entire journey remotely.

Rio Tinto's "Auto Haul" program got regulatory approval in May and was on schedule to be completed by the end of the year.

Rio Tinto iron ore managing director rail, port and core services Ivan Vella said the program would deliver the world’s first fully autonomous, long-distance, heavy-haul rail network, operating the world’s largest and longest robots.

“We will continue to ensure our autonomous trains operate safely under the wide range of conditions we experience in the Pilbara, where we record more than eight million kilometres of train travel each year," he said.

Not everyone is sold on the technology however with concerns raised by unions over the future of Rio Tinto's train driver workforce.

Mr Vella said the company was working closely with drivers during the transition period, preparing them for new ways of working as a result of automation.

Rail technology and systems provider Ansaldo STS helped develop the software and systems that drive the train.

Ansaldo STS president for freight Michele Fracchiolla said Tuesday's journey had been six years in the making.

He said it was just beginning for major change in the freight and transport sector, which will impact the workforces within them.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for transportation and infrastructure developers globally," he said.

"The potential for continuous and fast-pace change, supported at all levels by the Internet of Things, will lead to greater integration of systems, the span of autonomous practices will increase, and skills sets needed by our workforce will modify.”
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Online ozbob

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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2018, 08:17:34 AM »
https://twitter.com/Robert_Dow/status/1018196268424687616
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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2018, 08:20:33 AM »
The Next Web --> Fully autonomous trains are better suited for moving ores than people

Quote
Australian mining company Rio Tinto’s high-tech train completed the first fully autonomous delivery of iron ore in Western Australia’s Pilbara.

The autonomous train, consisting of three locomotives, carried about 28,000 tonnes of iron ore across 280 km from the company’s mining operations in Tom Price to the port of Cape Lambert on July 10.

https://twitter.com/australian/status/1017605085998866432

As we have reported, companies and research teams across the world continue to develop driverless cars, trucks, ships and airplanes for passengers. But complete automation of passenger trains is still an unviable idea.

This is the second time Rio Tinto has completed an autonomous train journey. The company’s first trial of the technology in October, last year, saw its train run a distance of 100 km between Australia’s Wombat Junction and Paraburdoo – but the train did not carry any cargo or passengers. Rio Tinto noted earlier that it aims to use the technology to standardize its trains’ operation and increase their speeds across its network.

With these recent developments, one might wonder if it is easier to bring autonomous passenger trains to the mainstream before self-driving cars could make it to the traffic. But that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

It is important to understand that even within automated trains, there are four grades. The first grade is Automated Train Protection (or ATP) which is a system that continuously checks the train’s speed and stops if it goes out of control. The second is Automated Train Operation (ATO) in which some systems like changing tracks, starting, and stopping are automated.

The third category is Driverless Train Operation (DTO) in which there are no drivers, but there is an attendant to take control when there is an emergency. Above all these is true automation without any staff on board – Unattended Train Operation (UTO).

The first three categories are already operational in some countries as metro rails, subway trains, or as light rail. You can find some autonomous passenger rail systems in Germany, Canada, and France manufactured by companies like Siemens, Bombaier and Alstom. London’s Docklands Light Railway and Copenhagen’s Metro also use systems with automatic train protection, operation and supervision.

However, these do not have obstacle detection systems and are mostly limited to trips over raised, unobstructed tracks like metro lines, airport terminal connections, and amusement parks. So these trains always assume a free line and race through. But there’s a major bottleneck holding true UTOs back.

It’s harder to manage the stoppage distance of trains over long distances than of any other vehicle type. Trains need to identify stations or obstacles well in advance before making a calculated stop. To make matters worse, the friction between a train’s metal wheels and metal tracks is much lower than that between a car’s tyre and the road. So coming to a quick stop needs human oversight.

Achieving full automation would require advanced image processing technology relaying information at high speeds to the control units at all times. These systems must also be constantly maintained by highly trained personnel, adding more costs to the implementation.

Additionally, railway workers across the world are unionized, and would not want to lose their jobs to automation. Plus, many people feel UTOs might be risky, and as such, there’s not a lot of public support for these vehicles at the moment. All these factors tell us that completely automated, long distance passenger trains may not become a mainstay at least in the foreseeable future.
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Offline #Metro

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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2018, 09:15:57 AM »

Quote
It’s harder to manage the stoppage distance of trains over long distances than of any other vehicle type. Trains need to identify stations or obstacles well in advance before making a calculated stop. To make matters worse, the friction between a train’s metal wheels and metal tracks is much lower than that between a car’s tyre and the road. So coming to a quick stop needs human oversight.

Human presence does not override physics. Advantage at the moment of a person is image recognition - but that may not be true in the future as advances are made in this area.

Quote
Additionally, railway workers across the world are unionized, and would not want to lose their jobs to automation. Plus, many people feel UTOs might be risky, and as such, there’s not a lot of public support for these vehicles at the moment. All these factors tell us that completely automated, long distance passenger trains may not become a mainstay at least in the foreseeable future.

Doesn't seem to be an issue in Sydney where the new metro is going in. Whoever makes fully automated commuter rail possible will make a lot of money!
Negative people... have a problem for every solution.
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Online ozbob

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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 01:44:20 AM »
Melbourne Age --> 'World's largest robot' operational as Pilbara driverless rail goes live



Quote
Pilbara iron ore giant Rio Tinto has completed the rollout of its automated Pilbara rail network.

The $1.3 billion rollout has taken just eight months.

The miner got approval from the national rail safety regulator to test "the world's largest robot" in May and conducted its first fully loaded automated mine-to-port rail journey in July.

It has gradually stepped up the number of heavy-haul journeys, with more than 1 million kilometres now travelled autonomously.

Rio Tinto has about 200 locomotives running on more than 1700 kilometres of track, which transport ore from its 16 mines to four Pilbara port terminals.

Every locomotive and line has been automated apart from the shorter Robe River line in the western Pilbara. The trains are controlled by the company's remote operations centre in Perth.

Rio Tinto began looking at automation 10 years ago to drive efficiencies in its production and boost margins.

In 2013 Rio Tinto employed about 400 drivers with some being paid up to $240,000 a year.

The Autohaul program has drawn the ire of unions worried about its impact on train driver jobs but the company said it had not made any forced redundancies and did not expect to make any in 2019.

On average Rio Tinto trains travel 800 kilometres on return journeys. A typical journey will take about 40 hours.

Rio's rail, port and core services boss Ivan Vella said early results were positive.

"It’s been a challenging journey to automate a rail network of this size and scale in a remote location like the Pilbara, but early results indicate significant potential to improve productivity, providing increased system flexibility and reducing bottlenecks,” he said.

"The safe and successful deployment of across our network is a strong reflection of the pioneering spirit inside Rio Tinto."

Autohaul locomotives are fitted with on-board cameras that are constantly monitored from the operations centre.

The slow march

Automation is rife within all large scale iron ore operations in the Pilbara but it is yet to reach WA's other commodities.

Rio, Fortescue Metals Group, BHP and Roy Hill are all adding automated trucks to their fleets. Some are also using automated exploration drill rigs.

University of Western Australia mineral economist and mining expert Professor Allan Trench said it will be some time before gold and other metal miners implement automation on a large scale.

"I think it will be staged and it will depend on the type of mining and type of commodity," he said.

"In general terms it will be faster in open pits and bulk commodities and slower in underground environments and precious metals and base metals.

"I think the iron ore miners are substantially ahead of the gold miners in WA.

"Gold mines can be complex underground rabbit warrens that are fiddly and they are a bit tougher to automate as opposed to 1700 kilometres of rail to get to a very large port."
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Offline SteelPan

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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2019, 11:05:15 PM »
For the record I'll place this video here, also posted in the Qld thread, related it to likely changing crew structures in QR looking to the future...

If urban rail was a sports stadium - there'd be a station on every corner!  Keep it LOUD for Pro-Rail!  :pr

Online ozbob

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Re: WA: Rio Tinto - autonomous rail
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2019, 05:29:08 AM »
WA Today --> No more training wheels: Rio Tinto launches 'world's biggest robot'


Rio Tinto iron ore managing director rail, port and core services Ivan Vella on one of the Autohaul locomotives.CREDIT:TOM ROVIS-HERMANN


Quote
After more than a decade Rio Tinto has officially launched its autonomous train fleet, which the miner says holds great promise for flexibility and efficiency improvements at its Pilbara operations.

The mining sector’s robot love affair hit its crescendo on Friday on the Dampier Peninsula as iron ore giant Rio Tinto officially launched its Autohaul driverless train.

More than a decade of work and $940 million went into turning 200-odd locomotives into ‘the world’s biggest robots’.

From the outside the locomotives are imposing, but some were built nearly 25 years ago and look like they’re just a few levels of tech above needing hand-shovelled coal to get going.

Even the cabins give nothing away. They’re all still equipped with microwaves and fridges and plush-looking driver chairs that feature the grooves of drivers' rumps.

But walk down a small set of stairs and open an unassuming cabinet and you'll find a mess of wires, circuit boards and other complicated looking electronics that make up the Autohaul’s brain.

The company had to overcome unique regulatory hurdles and several delays due to the complexity of the software.

Now hundreds of trains trundle obediently through the Pilbara’s oxide-stained ranges and salt flats every day, carrying 1 million tonnes of Rio Tinto product from its 16 mines to port. At all times being closely monitored by a remote operations centre in Perth.

Rio Tinto iron ore managing director of rail, port and core services Ivan Vella said Autohaul reflected the pioneering spirit of the project team and cemented the Pilbara as the ‘Silicon Valley of autonomy’.

“This is another reflection of the commitment to technology and innovation here in the Pilbara and in WA,” he said at the official launch of the trains at the company's 7 Mile rail operations centre near Karratha.

The safety of ore trains is at the forefront of the public’s mind since BHP’s catastrophic derailment last year, and as much as Rio Tinto wants to distance its new system from those comparisons, the industry will be closely watching Autohaul's safety outcomes.

Autohaul has collision detectors, cameras and motion sensors splashed across the locomotive and because Rio Tinto’s 1700km rail network is private, the tracks and level crossings have been upgraded to work in tandem with the trains.

The company said it all makes for an extremely safe machine, but unfortunately the physics of stopping a fully loaded train mean stray kangaroos are no more likely to survive an encounter with the front of a locomotive, manned or not.

Mr Vella said he had been ‘pleasantly surprised’ at how well the Autohaul system was working.

“When you start something like this where technology is involved you always expect there will be some challenges and reliability issues you have to work through and the ramp up has gone much smoother and much quicker than we’d hoped,” he said.

“On a normal day about 95 per cent of our trains complete their journeys without any impact at all.”

Automated trucks have been operating at some of WA’s biggest mines for more than a decade and the Autohaul is the next step in the march toward taking as many humans away from risky mining operations as possible.

This path has drawn constant criticism from unions who say mining companies are placing profits over people in their ruthless pursuit of efficiency.

Rio Tinto’s longest round trip is to its Hope Downs 4 mine. It takes about 46 hours.

Autohaul means there's no more need to swap drivers on the journey.

“The key initial benefit from Autohaul is we avoid those driver changes,” Mr Vella said.

“Collectively we save an hour on average in cycle time, that is the most significant part of the business case initially for Autohaul.”

Ironically the software used by Autohaul has been informed by Rio Tinto’s best train drivers, but Mr Vella is quick to point out the project has not meant any job losses.

The company still had drivers stationed throughout the network to respond to faults, move trains when they go through yards and drive them on non-Autohaul lines.

Mr Vella said the project was never about cutting jobs, but rather removing bottlenecks and increasing the network’s flexibility.

“It’s something really important to clarify this project was never about job losses and never about cost savings in labour,” he said.

“It was about the efficiency of our network and creating a foundation for how we can now operate it.

“We’re really starting to optimise the way we run our network.”

So was the money worth it? Mr Vella thinks so.

“It will be years to recover a $940 million investment but we're still very confident in the investment we made,” he said.

Despite the perceived impact on jobs the project had the full support of the WA government, which was excited at the prestige it bestowed upon the state in the technology stakes.

WA mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said there were now more autonomous vehicles in WA than California, home of the real Silicon Valley.

“Autohaul has brought the rail freight industry in this country into the 21st century and is rightfully the subject of global interest,” he said.

“I’d also like to mention that the development of the world’s biggest robot is such a success because of the contribution from Western Australia’s skilled engineers and innovative workers.”
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