AUSTRALIA: Mining company Rio Tinto is to undertake proof-of-concept testing of enhancements to the collision detection system on its AutoHaul autonomous trains, which would add the capability to identify hazards such as people or vehicles on or near the tracks.

The nine-month project will have three phases. The first will include data acquisition and live demonstrations, followed by a second stage with preliminary technical work for installation on a locomotive in Q3 2021. This would be followed by a three-month evaluation period.

A prototype collision avoidance system is to be supplied by Hitachi Rail STS Australia using technology from Israeli machine vision technology company Rail Vision. Rio Tinto is also examining a competing system from an Australian company.

Rail Vision expects the testing contract to generate revenue of US$265 000, with an option for additional services worth US$133 000. Should Hitachi Rail STS go ahead with a purchase order, Rail Vision would supply the required equipment and services under terms agreed by both parties.

If the tests are successful, Rio Tinto could roll out the system across its entire fleet of 220 locomotives.