Just read a cool article about Rio Tinto PLC, the huge mining company based in Australia with operations world wide. In this virile industry you’d think all of the top management would be male, but no, two of the top execs are women. Guess this is one of those merit-based industries.
Here’s the sub-head: “Iron-Ore Miner to Deploy Massive Automated Vehicles at Australian Site in 2012.”
The mine intends to use giant unmanned trucks, “[t]raveling precise routes around Yandicoogina mine and operating 24 hours a day, [that] will be under the supervision of a single worker in a portable office at the mine, backed up by a control center in Perth that oversees all of the company’s 14 mines, as well as its rail lines and ports, in the distant Pilbara region of Australia’s northwest.
A Rio Tinto spokeswoman says, “There’s nothing weirder than seeing one of these giant trucks with no driver in it.”
Trucks are built by based Komatsu Ltd., “which has also supplied the vehicles … to a copper mine in Chile. They stand close to seven meters tall and can carry more than 290,000 kilograms, driven by a 16- or 18-cylinder engine churning out about 3,500 horsepower.” Whew!
IFO does not own Rio Tinto or Komatsu shares.