Trials of autonomous trucks for the road are continuing, but it’s likely that the mining industry may be among the first to use fully self-driving trucks. Numerous trials have taken place over the last couple of years and we were even told that SA mining companies have been in discussions with at least one truck manufacturer. Despite efforts by us and the Business Day mining reporter, we’ve been unable to get any of the SA mining companies to confirm plans. That’s probably because the unions are unlikely to approve of the introduction of autonomous trucks but the reality is that they will come; it’s just a matter of when. Elsewhere in the world, tests continue and the latest news out of Australia is that Rio Tinto is trialling autonomous Scania trucks in its Dampier Salt operations as part of its existing autonomous truck fleet. The trial started in August 2018 using a Scania XT 8x4 self-driving tipper. Like trials of most autonomous vehicles around the world, a safety driver still ...

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