A us Sweden has been using mining construction machines for 20 years, which are completely autonomous under and drive over days. Björn Rosengren, head of construction machinery manufacturer Sandvik, is now showing that even machines weighing tons can drive autonomously with centimeter precision - and that the Swedes have a unique sense of humor.
The protagonist of the experiment is a driverless, unloaded mine excavator Sandvik LH514 with weighing 38.1 tons. The gross vehicle weight with cargo is 52.1 tons. It is powered by a 348 hp, 1,770 Nm strong and 12.78 liter in-line six-cylinder diesel engine from Volvo. The 11.15 meter long and 3.00 meter wide excavator is usually used in mines that can be up to 1,500 meters below ground or up to 3,000 meters above ground. The power is transferred to the 36-inch wheels via a four-speed automatic. The Sandvik LH514 can go up to 32.7 kilometers per hour. In half-loaded operation it consumes 33 liters per hour. Its fuel tank has a capacity of 560 liters and the turning circle measures 14.20 meters.There is a lot going on.
For the first time, a complete operation is possible autonomously
It is of course no coincidence that the excavator did not hit a target in autonomous mode. For over 20 years and with over two million working hours, the Sandvik excavators have been in use in autonomous mode in mines around the world - without an accident that would have involved humans. What is new, however, is that the loading and thus the entire work process is now carried out fully automatically. “It wasn't an easy task. You have to consider the different types of mines and stones. But we did it and are now the only ones who offer this auto-charging function, ”enthuses Jouni Koppanen, chief engineer in the automation department at Sandvik.