Rio Tinto has rolled out its $940 million AutoHaul rail technology program, with the world-first automated rail network having travelled more than three million kilometres autonomously.

Known as the world’s largest robot, AutoHaul’s 2.4km-long trains deliver iron ore from 16 Rio Tinto mines to ports in Dampier and Cape Lambert.

The trains have safely travelled more than three million kilometres autonomously across the Pilbara’s 1,700 kilometre rail network.

AutoHaul’s software was completely deployed, becoming the world’s first automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network in December 2018.

Each locomotive is fitted with on-board cameras that live stream to its operation centre at Perth Airport.

The world-first project was made possible by Rio Tinto closely collaborating with its project partners: Hitachi-Ansaldo STS, Calibre, New York Air Brake and GE Wabtec.

Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “I’d like to congratulate Rio Tinto, Hitachi-Ansaldo and all the other project partners for their hard work and dedication over the past decade in delivering this project, which really cements our State as a global leader in rail technology.

“AutoHaul has brought the rail freight industry in this country into the 21st century and is rightfully the subject of global interest.

“I’d also like to mention that the development of the world’s biggest robot is such a success because of the contribution from Western Australia’s skilled engineers and innovative workers.”

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