Caterpillar has expanded its range of autonomous mining technology, launching a new project to retrofit Komatsu 930E mining trucks with driverless capabilities last week in Arizona.

According to Caterpillar, the initiative has been driven by reducing operator costs for the brand’s mining clients, including several in Australia.

“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” said Sean McGinnis, product manager at Caterpillar.

“Many mining companies operate mixed fleets of trucks. Developing autonomous systems for other brands of trucks will enable us to offer a total solution to these customers.”

Caterpillar is also expanding the number of Cat truck models fitted for autonomous operation.

The autonomous arrangement of the 797F, the largest of the Cat line with 400 Tonne payload capacity, is now being tested. Other models are also being evaluated as Caterpillar works with mining companies seeking ways to lower cost per Tonne and enhance safety.

The new Cat autonomous trucks will join the proven Cat 793F CMD in the autonomous mining truck line. A large fleet of the 250 Tonne capacity trucks has achieved a 20 per cent productivity advantage over standard trucks working in an Australian iron ore mine.

Fortescue has also achieved zero lost time injuries since the first trucks started operating more than 3.5 years ago. In keeping with the retrofit trend, several of the current global fleet of 70 Cat 793F autonomous trucks have been retrofitted to operate autonomously.