Canadian energy company Suncor Energy has announced that it will go ahead with the phased implementation of autonomous haulage systems at its company-operated mines.
The firm expects to deploy more than 150 autonomous haul trucks over the next six years, which it says is one of the largest investments in electric autonomous vehicles in the world.
However, Suncor acknowledged that the shift to autonomous haulage systems would lead to changes to some employees’ roles, saying that it would continue to work with the union on ways to minimise the impact for its workforce.
Suncor has spent four years evaluating autonomous haul technology and believes that it can be used safely and effectively in its operations.
Mark Little, Suncor’s chief operating officer, highlighted the safety improvements the autonomous trucks are expected to bring.
“Safety is our number one value at Suncor. Autonomous haulage systems reduce interaction between people and equipment, which decreases incident rates and injury potential - helping us ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of every day,” said Little.