Autonomous dump truck makes debut at Devon quarry

Image of the autonomous dump truck from Chepstow Plant

An autonomous dump truck, co-developed by Chepstow Plant International and Bell Equipment, has made its debut.

The project is led by Chepstow Plant International and Bell, following long-term trials between Bell and technology platform specialist, Xtonomy. The fourth partner in the project is Sibelco, whose china-clay Cornwood quarry in Devon was the venue for the public launch of the autonomous articulated dump truck (ADT).

The vehicle started as a standard B40E dump truck. It features radar sensors, GPS, multi-channel communication systems and on-board processing hardware, incorporated by Xtonomy, to create an autonomous-ready drive-by-wire machine.

According to the project team, this “combination offers true and safe autonomy with a resilient navigation system that dynamically plans ADT paths and predictively controls the vehicle around the entire quarry site”.

The project team hopes to demonstrate the potential to reduce plant accidents as well as upskilling the existing workforce to support future of quarry operations.

The autonomous ADT can operate for longer during the working day, deliver highly accurate tipping results, and ensure that quarry shift patterns can be tailored to improve productivity, bringing operational efficiencies. The project team also expects improved component life and reduced wear and tear on the B40E.

Environmental benefits

Environmental benefits are expected with less fuel consumed. The Bell B40E also uses HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) instead of diesel. This means the machine is as near to carbon-neutral as currently possible within the quarry and mining sector, the project team claim.

John Corcoran, managing director of Chepstow Plant International, said: “It is important that stakeholders come together in this way to drive advancements and support the industry’s future prospects, while continually remaining committed to our safety standards and net-zero commitments.

“We are sure that this pilot project will deliver progress, as well as further challenges. Both of which will provide the pathway towards the ultimate goal.”

Nic Grout, managing director of Bell Equipment, added: “[This project’s] success can help transform the future of the quarrying sector and we are pleased that our evolutionary E-series and the B40E dump truck sits at the heart of this innovative project.”

This article first appeared on BIMplus

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