Caterpillar Inc. said July 23 it has formed a joint venture with mining company BHP Billiton to develop driverless trucks designed to increase safety and efficiency within mines.
The trucks are scheduled to be in service at mine sites by 2010. Caterpillar, which first developed an "autonomous," or robotic, mining truck in the mid-1990s will combine its technology with BHP Billiton's mining processes, says Stu Levenick, Caterpillar Group vice president.
Autonomous technology is designed to increase process consistency and minimize environmental impact of mining in addition to improving safety.
Caterpillar plans to release further details of the new product at the MineExpo 2008 trade show in September in Las Vegas.