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01.23.2015

Autonomous Mining Is Ready for Oil Sands… Are You?

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Related topics: Mining
The Haulage A.I. tracks and manages multiple vehicles so an operator does not have to.Canada is one of the only countries in the world that commercially mines oil sands, and is also one of the areas that could benefit from mining vehicle automation.

Canada boasts some of the largest oil sands deposits in the world. "Oil sands" refers to sand or clay that is heavily saturated with a viscous type of petroleum called bitumen. Near-surface deposits are extracted using traditional mining methods and hauled to cleaning facilities where the bitumen is removed from other sediments. Separated bitumen is piped downstream for upgrading and refinement into petroleum products.

With nearly 55% of Canadian crude production coming from oil sands, advances in extraction and refinement technologies, and lower commodity prices, oil sands are gaining more attention as a global petroleum resource. They also represent one of the major areas that autonomous vehicle technologies can be used to assist the oil and gas industry.

ASI's CEO, Mel Torrie, who was recently quoted in Mining Equipment Technology's article "Mine of the Future?," said autonomous mining equipment can reduce wear and tear on vehicles as they operate within the OEM recommended spec, reducing unscheduled maintenance and replacement of expensive parts, particularly tires.

Interested in learning more about autonomous haulage for oil sands? Access our Vehicle A.I. flyer.

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"Tests have shown tires last three times longer with autonomous vehicles than with ones operated by drivers," says Torrie.