Caterpillar recently surpassed the 3-billion-metric-ton (mt) milestone using its MineStar Command autonomous haulage system (AHS). Cat has Command AHS fleets operating across three continents — North America, South America and Australia — at 17 mine locations, operated by nine different customers. Commodities mined using the Cat Command include iron ore, oil sands, copper, coal and gold.  It spans haul truck sizes from 190 mt to 360 mt.

“Since surpassing the 2-billion-mt milestone, we’ve equipped more mines with Command trucks and have established the world’s first gold mining application with Command for hauling,” said Jim Hawkins, director of Cat MineStar Solutions. “We’ve expanded our Command fleet by nearly 250%.”

Since the first autonomous Cat trucks were commissioned in 2013, these AHS models have traveled more than 110 million kilometers (km), equivalent to a minimum-distance, straight-line roundtrip journey to Mars, with no lost-time injuries associated with automated truck operation, according to Cat.

Customers using Command for hauling report significant gains in productivity and truck utilization rates with lower costs per ton and have seen up to 30% higher productivity, the company said.

“We continue to decrease the time between our major milestone targets because, from initial contract to full deployment, we constantly improve Command implementation efficiency. Consistent with previous milestone trends, we anticipate crossing the 4-billion-mt threshold at even a faster pace than achieving 3 billion mt,” said Marc Cameron, vice president, Caterpillar Resource Industries. “Looking forward, we are planning the expansion of Command for hauling to include our 140-mt (150-ton) class Cat 785 mining truck.”