Development with a Virtual Mine Site
Cat®Command for hauling, the autonomous haulage system that Caterpillar developed in partnership with several of its largest mining customers, has been successfully deployed for over five years. In that time, the system has safely moved more than 700 million tons of ore, helping mines improve productivity by more than 20 percent and cutting the frequency of potentially dangerous safety incidents in half.
Behind the success of this game-changing system is a mine site that has been using Command since before its official launch. Operated by Caterpillar, the mine site runs 24 hours a day, providing insight from more than 350 pieces of equipment covering over 25 square miles. Yet it hasn’t produced a single ton of ore. That’s because the mine site is completely virtual, running on a high-performance computing server on Caterpillar’s Mossville campus.
From the mine site’s central command center, the movements of 100 autonomous large mining trucks and over 250 auxiliary vehicles and machines are orchestrated by one or two MineStar controllers. The controllers, with six LCD monitors at their fingertips, see and manage everything on the site. They set up daily production goals, send selected machines and crushers for maintenance, and assign autonomous trucks to the shop to address diagnostics—taking the system through the same scenarios that our customers face.
Caterpillar’s virtual mine site provides development teams with immediate feedback on system performance to validate new software releases and mitigate customer disruptions. The platform provides competitive differentiation in autonomous systems integration and testing to develop leading site solutions for our customers.