International Mining | SEPTEMBER 2023

From a small number of first movers, autonomy is rapidly infiltrating mining fleets. Paul Moore looks at
key projects, technologies and developments

xtonomy live AHS demo at Steinexpo xtonomy provides an advanced next-gen
autonomous solution for mining and quarrying and argues: “xtonomy’s AI is the only
commercially available system that is capable to navigate freely in unstructured and ever-changing
environments such as in quarries. This enables autonomy for the first time also in complex

dynamic sites and opens the technology to a wide range of customers.”
In a first for mining events, xtonomy demonstrated a fully operational AHS live in a
quarrying show at this year’s Steinexpo 2023 in Germany, from August 23-26 in cooperation with
Germany’s Bell distributor Kiesel GmbH on a Bell B30E 4×4. The event is held in Europe’s largest
basalt quarry in Nieder-Ofleiden, which is operated by Mitteldeutsche Hartstein-Industrie
AG. Visitors could observe how the machine operated in full autonomous cycles around the
show grounds of the Quarry Vision area. The company told IM: “It was an eye-opener to the
industry that AI can be leveraged today to solve the biggest industry challenges such as safety,
labor shortage, OEE, cost and ESG factors.”
On the wider market, after many years of development xtonomy adds that its AHS for
trucks is now transitioning to full production and is currently being rolled out to several
applications. “The xtonomy AHS is designed for smaller truck fleets that may be fully
orchestrated by the excavator or loader operator. Although the autonomous trucks automatically
follow the excavator position on the bench and adapt queuing position, cusp point and loading
position automatically, the operator may adapt all points to facilitate the process if needed.”
No additional personnel is required to supervise the fleet as all underlying processes
are fully automated. The system uses robust radar onboard mapping and object detection to
continuously perceive the environment and with motion planners that freely plan the best routes
“and dynamically react to changes as opposed to driving from one fixed point to another on virtual
“Furthermore, it handles the interaction of multiple trucks in such unstructured
environments. This is only possible through a very high degree of autonomy at highest system
levels. Several safety layers guarantee a safe operation with safe radio comms, high-precision
GPS, radar and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) localisation. Manned machines may be
integrated into the ecosystem for safe interaction in complex scenarios.”
Finally, xtonomy says its autonomy system does not require uninterrupted coverage of highbandwidth
comms throughout the mine-site which dramatically reduces the system implementation effort.

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