Caterpillar partners with a customer to bring robot haul trucks to smaller sites
By Larry Stewart16 December 2022
Autonomous heavy equipment is not so much a technology of the future as a current tech waiting to be scaled for different kinds of jobs.
So it’s kind of a big deal for Caterpillar to collaborate with Luck Stone, the largest family-owned and operated producer of crushed stone in the U.S., to deploy driverless autonomous hauling to Luck Stone’s Bull Run Plant in Chantilly, Va. It will be Caterpillar’s first application of robot trucks outside the mining industry and will expand the company’s autonomous truck fleet to include the 100-ton-class (90-tonne-class) Cat 777.
Caterpillar has fielded the world’s largest fleet of autonomous haul trucks, now numbering more than 560. These trucks have traveled more than 116 million miles (187 million kilometers) and autonomously moved more than 5.6 billion tons (5.1 billion tonnes) of material, all without a single zero lost-time injury.
Luck Stone’s Bull Run Plant will implement Caterpillar’s Cat MineStar Command for Hauling system on a fleet of 777G trucks. Insight gained on this project will help Caterpillar tailor the next generation of the technology specifically to quarry and aggregate work. The idea is to adapt the technology to operations with fewer mobile assets in a way that generates the step change in safety and productivity common at autonomous mining operations.
“Luck Stone and Caterpillar’s partnership has been grounded in shared values for many years,” said Charlie Luck, president and CEO of Luck Companies. “Together we believe that safety, innovation and a commitment to people are critical, not only to propelling important projects like this, but to ensuring our focus on the future and all of the exciting possibilities technology affords our industry. Our collaboration will provide opportunities for associates to learn and grow, improve safety and result in production efficiencies. We are thrilled to partner with Caterpillar to achieve this ‘first’ for our industry.”
Minestar will be implemented at Bull Run in 2024.