Mining company says first autonomous freight train network is fully operational

The system reduces the number of times a train has to stop for engineer shift changes.

Enlarge / Rio Tinto's AutoHaul autonomous train in Western Australia. (credit: Rio Tinto)

On Friday, major mining corporation Rio Tinto reported that its AutoHaul autonomous train system in Western Australia had logged more than 1 million km (620,000 mi) since July 2018, S&P Global Platts reported. Rio Tinto calls it's now-fully-operational autonomous train system the biggest robot in the world.

The train system serves 14 mines that deliver to four port terminals. Two mines that are closest to a port terminal will retain human engineers because they are very short lines, according to Perth Now.

The train system took ten years to build and cost Rio Tinto AUD $1.3 billion (USD $916 million) to implement. The trains are remotely monitored by a crew located 1,500 km (932 mi) away in Perth.

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