Tom Simonite for MIT Technology Review: Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board.
Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia’s Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas, the vehicles work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs. The company is also upgrading the locomotives that haul ore hundreds of miles to port—the upgrades will allow the trains to drive themselves, and be loaded and unloaded automatically.
Rio Tinto intends its automated operations in Australia to preview a more efficient future for all of its mines—one that will also reduce the need for human miners. The rising capabilities and falling costs of robotics technology are allowing mining and oil companies to reimagine the dirty, dangerous business of getting resources out of the ground. Cont'd...
The 3D Riegl scanning laser range finder and an Acumine 2D scanning millimeter wave radar were transported on Husky and used to record video footage and densely sampled data sets. The data is being submitted to the International Journal of Robotics Research to ensure that this insight and information is available to the robotics community.
The top machine builders are switching from proprietary hardware-based PLCs, like Allen-Bradley, TwinCAT, Mitsubishi and KEYENCE, to open standards-based EtherCAT-enabled software PLCs on IPCs. KINGSTAR provides a fully-featured and integrated software PLC based on an open and accessible RTOS. KINGSTAR Soft PLC also includes add-on or third-party components for motion control and machine vision that are managed by a rich user interface for C++ programmers and non-developers alike.