Welcome to the futuristic and dramatic world of smart and connected mines. In fact, the future is already here. Last year, Rio Tinto, the world’s largest miner, experimented with driverless trains. The first ride did have a driver, but he didn’t do anything. Later, Rio’s CEO boarded it and said that it was “working very well”. He added, “We just have to ramp up the entire system, which we want to do it in a very safe and structured way.”
Global firms have adopted other means of “driverless haulage”, which are equipped with GPS (for navigation), an obstacle detection system, and vehicle controllers. Such unmanned trucks reduce costs, enhance mine safety, and lower the wear-and-tear on tyres. Ultimately, such vehicles will be moved through remote control that will avoid collisions between man and machine. Most work in mines will be done by machines, and not men.