comment on this article

'Open Autonomy' solution for mining industry

Wenco International Mining Systems and Oxbotica have signed an agreement to develop a 'world-first' Open Autonomy solution for mining. Initial trials are already underway, and the companies are actively recruiting mining partners with appropriate testing grounds.

The system will provide customers with flexibility and efficiency in autonomous mining deployment, allowing them to operate any open standard-based vehicle and integrate it into their existing fleet. It will help meet growing demand with the number of autonomous haulage trucks around the world expected to grow by more than 300% by 2023.

Both Wenco and Oxbotica support an open and interoperable ecosystem of partners that integrate solutions alongside existing mine infrastructure and, according to the companies, this approach helps avoid vendor lock-in and offers customers the freedom to choose preferred technologies, independent of their primary industrial systems. It also enables highly skilled autonomy suppliers that may be new to mining to integrate with customers’ existing operations while backed by a proven expert in the industry.

A wholly owned subsidiary company of Hitachi Construction Machinery, Wenco, has 30 years’ experience in developing technology solutions that assist mining companies and this latest advancement builds on the vision of Open Autonomy ­– first publicly announced by Wenco and its parent, at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Convention in Montreal in May 2019.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with Oxbotica,” said Andrew Pyne, Wenco President and CEO. “We are confident that combining Oxbotica’s proven capability in autonomy with our experience in interoperable fleet management systems for large mining customers enables us to create the industry’s first full-function open autonomy platform.

“Regardless of the strategies of other industrial autonomy vendors, Wenco and Oxbotica believe firmly in the principle of open systems and consider it the primary way to bring about our joint goals of widespread adoption of autonomous technology and safer, more productive industrial operations. Our joint platform will allow customers to choose any open standards-based vehicle and integrate it into their existing operations.”

Founded in 2014, Oxbotica was spun out of University of Oxford and has developed an autonomy software platform that enables faster deployment of industry-specific autonomy applications. Its mining solutions combine advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and computer vision to change the way mining vehicle fleets are able to operate.

“This collaboration with Wenco is a major milestone for Oxbotica,” said Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Oxbotica. “Wenco’s industry experience in mining and their vision for Open Autonomy make this partnership extremely valuable for us and provides a great synergy with our own vision of Universal Autonomy – where any vehicle, in any environment, can understand where it is, what’s around it and what it should do next."

“The mining industry has proven to be at the forefront of deploying early generation autonomy systems because the business case has been clear for operators. However, even years after early deployments, less than two per cent of vehicles are autonomous in mines around the world. We strongly believe an Open Autonomy architecture that enables new and innovative entrants, like Oxbotica, to join and speed up autonomy adoption will be beneficial for the whole industry. Together with Wenco, we would like to accelerate the adoption of autonomy in mining, making it much easier for mine operators to deploy autonomous technologies and enjoy the benefits.”


Author
Neil Tyler

Comment on this article


This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles