Self-Driving Cars

The Tech of It: Caterpillar’s Mining World

Overview At CES® 2021, industrial vehicle leader Caterpillar showed off two-story mega-trucks and technology solutions changing the mining world.

In the world of earth-moving yellow trucks for mining, Caterpillar is a household name. But the technology behind these trucks also carries a lot of weight — and is also built by Caterpillar, showing how every company is a technology company.

Mining allows for the creation of the everyday technology products consumers now use, but the intersection of the two worlds extends far beyond that.

Caterpillar joined us at the all-digital CES® 2021 to share how its two-story-tall mega-trucks and complex mining procedures are incorporating technology.

 

How Giant Trucks Operate Autonomously

Command for hauling has changed the way mining companies can safely and efficiently transport large amounts of materials.

One operator — whether in the cab of a shovel vehicle or remote — can control the autonomous truck. With a dashboard readily available, the shovel operator can designate the truck to arrive at a specific loading location, call another truck in line, see the truck arrival times, manage the truck payload and more. Technology solution incorporated into the autonomous truck also recognizes the grade of material within the truck and assigns a dumping location automatically.

The trucks are equipped with Caterpillar Terrain and Fleet to enable these processes, and also allows the trucks to communicate with each other, avoiding accidents and maintaining exchange times.

Reducing the number of operators needed in hazardous or remote sites and allowing instant alterations and synchronization of mine maps and instructions, autonomous haulage trucks such as CAT Minestar’s 793F CMD boosts productivity and decreases costs.

 

How Tech Keeps Mining Safe and Secure

More than keeping workers away from machinery risks through autonomous trucks, Caterpillar also leverages technology to keep workers safe in other ways.

Keeping Operators Awake

One of the biggest challenges and dangers that mining operators face is fatigue, particularly when around heavy machinery. The Caterpillar Detect Driver Safety System (DSS) not only monitors distractions and fatigue but prevents it.

DSS tracks driver eye movements and behaviors through a mounted system. In the event of a distraction or notable fatigue-related behavior, the mounted system instantly notifies both the driver and the management office.

Tracking Underground Workers

Real-time positioning information for people, machines and material underground can change performance management for mine companies and keep everyone safe. Until recently, RFID hotspot tags spread out across various points of a mine plan prevented management from knowing the exact location of machines and workers until they pass over another RFID hotspot.

Data communication and RFID hotspot combined in a single CAT Minestar system allows dynamic tracking within less than a meter at any time. Wearables are integrated into the system as well for underground workers, decreasing the need for workers to interact with machines.
 

“Incorporating technology into machines and operating environments is the most important thing we can do to keep people safe,” said Denise Johnson, group president of Caterpillar’s Resource Industries division, during Caterpillar’s CES 2021 press conference.

 

On-demand programming from the all-digital CES 2021, including exhibitor spotlight sessions, is now available for all to view. The industry-changing insights and announcements shared by tech visionaries at CES 2021 are key to the continued growth and advancement of your business and our tech ecosystem. With that in mind, we’ve opened the CES sessions to everyone.

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