SafeAI and Obayashi unveil first electric, autonomous mining truck retrofit

Bibhrajit Halder, SafeAI CEO, with retrofitted Cat 725 truck Bibhrajit Halder, SafeAI CEO, with retrofitted Cat 725 truck (Photo: SafeAI)

SafeAI and Obayashi Corporation have unveiled what is described as the first haul truck retrofit to combine both a zero-emission powertrain and equipment to support autonomous vehicle operation.

SafeAI retrofitted the Caterpillar 725 with its OEM-agnostic, fully-autonomous self-driving technology, while system integrator Avia Engineering carried out installation of the fully-electric drive system.

The project is said to show how companies can reuse their existing assets, while improving operations and achieving sustainability goals.

“Just as our autonomous solution is designed to be open and interoperable, we want our solution to be powered by any energy source. This project is a step in that direction as it showcases how our autonomous ground vehicle stack is EV compatible,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO of SafeAI.

Self-driving can improve site safety, allowing employees to leave a dangerous work environment and supervise from distance. Improved efficiency supports cost-effective operation and extended vehicle uptime.

Autonomy alone is said to be capable of increasing environmentally-related vehicle performance (reduced emissions, etc.) by up to 13%.

Commenting on the project, Sugiura Shinya, Business Innovation Division GM of Obayashi, said: “In addition to demonstrating the synergy between autonomous and electric technologies, we’re also excited about the retrofit aspect of this project. The difference between the OEM approach and this initiative is that it puts the contractor in control. A retrofit approach allows contractors to proactively upgrade their vehicles to advance carbon neutral strategies.”


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