Rio Tinto granted approval for autonomous operation

Posted: 21 May 2018 | | No comments yet

Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul project has progressed further and once all trains are autonomous, it will be the world’s first heavy haul, long distance autonomous operation…


Rio Tinto has been granted authorisation by Australia’s Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), approving the autonomous operation of trains at the group’s iron ore business in Western Australia.

The AutoHaul project is progressing and on schedule to be completed by the end of 2018. Rio Tinto will take a phased approach to deploying autonomous trains across the network in the lead up to full commissioning. 

Focused on automating trains for the transportation of iron ore to Rio Tinto’s port facilities in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, trains started running in autonomous mode with a driver on-board monitoring in the first quarter of 2017. 

At the end of the first quarter of 2018, approximately 65 per cent of all train kilometres were completed in autonomous mode. More than three million kilometres have now been completed in this mode.

Once commissioned, the network will be the world’s first heavy haul, long distance autonomous rail operation, unlocking significant safety and productivity benefits for the business.

Rio Tinto operates about 200 locomotives on more than 1,700km of track in the Pilbara, transporting approximately 330 – 340 million tonnes of ore per year from 16 mines to four port terminals.