Maximising Autonomous Haulage System performance through operational knowhow

Absolute Autonomous

Life as we know it has accelerated at an unprecedented pace. A malleable approach and the capacity for dynamic adaptability is more important than ever before. In a world where advanced technological conversions require strategic integration and methodical systemic application, the more personal aspects of this operating shift may be often overlooked.

Encompassing a myriad of complexities, the transition towards an automated future is typically geared towards the mechanical efficiency aspect, whilst losing sight of the profound human factors involved in such an industrious evolution.

Although there’s no doubt that our automated technologies possess an impressive degree of self-sufficiency and inherent independent ability, the bottom line is that these applications also demand effective manual inputs to actualise optimal functionality into fruition.

Autonomous technologies should be interpreted as a defined sensitive calculation, precisely reacting with prescribed techniques to external stimuli.

The Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), or “calculator”, will render performance outcomes synonymous with the quality, accuracy, and suitability of the human inputs and instruction, with comprehensive consideration for the physical realm in which this virtual industrial lifeforce exists.

This, at its core, forms the basis for many of the challenges the mining industry faces, and its transformation into the realm of automated technologies today.

One company challenging the status quo is Absolute Autonomous. The company’s approach to automation and robotics integration in mining operations specialises in the intersection of the human interaction with technology and system functionality. They are committed to building the next generation of mining by taking the safety, productivity, and efficiency of autonomous success to new heights.

Absolute Autonomous Senior Consultant Cloey MacDonald said that technology advancements typically come with added complexity, which means many mine workers often feel displaced and pushed aside in lieu of the new-found virtual employee.

“After honing their skills and building their knowledge base through dedication over many years, the automation shift can have a detrimental impact on workers’ mental health,” she said. “That’s where Absolute Autonomous plays its part by taking a more holistic and sensitive approach to the integration of AHS within mining operations.”

Empowering the autonomous journey ahead

Absolute Autonomous has been directly involved with more than 19 successful AHS deployments in some of the world’s most challenging environments, from the remote Australian Pilbara to the freezing Andes Mountains and desolate Atacama Desert. Being internationally mobile has afforded them a rich and diverse range of experience, working across a wide variety of minerals resources for both small scale deployments and large AHS operations alike.

The company is focused on three core pillars – AHS mining processes, skills and knowledge, and culture. The team is distinctly passionate about creating positive and sustainable change, by empowering their customers throughout the complex and multifaceted transition into the technological age.

Absolute Autonomous are not only subject matter experts in the field of AHS applications, but bring decades of hands-on, practical operational experience and real-world context to every interaction. With no direct affiliation with any one AHS manufacturer, they offer an honest and independent perspective.

MacDonald explained the importance of understanding the challenges faced by mining companies, and the role they play within this new-found way of working.

“In order to best support mines on their journey to a safe, successful, and sustainable autonomous haulage operation, you need to start from the ground up. Putting people first is key to unlocking exceptional performance from the AHS within the broader operation.”

“We’re committed to providing our clients with ongoing support, invaluable coaching, and expert guidance throughout the duration of their AHS deployments, ensuring they achieve sustainable, tangible results,” she said.

AA Team on Site

A personalised approach to AHS operational performance

By understanding that every business has complex needs, different constraints, and diverse capabilities, Absolute Autonomous put an emphasis on tailoring custom solutions for mining companies with both small and large-scale AHS operations.

Absolute Autonomous offers a suite of unique services including the Absolute Autonomous Future State range, which sets itself apart from your standard AHS performance reviews. Going above and beyond, Absolute Autonomous approach their diagnostics holistically, explaining that there is always more to the story than meets the eye.

“Data can only tell us so much. To fully understand the restrictions on an AHS operation, you need to observe the system in action and understand the interaction with it on site,” said MacDonald.

Unlike other companies, the Future State packages not only expertly identify and diagnose AHS inefficiencies, but take it to a whole new level.

Absolute Autonomous are unlocking the next generation of AHS performance, by providing mine sites with customised solutions for optimising the performance, safety, and culture of their AHS operation. They provide clients with personalised AHS improvement roadmaps, designed for their specific mining environment, appropriate system, and operational conditions.

“Sustainable change does not happen overnight. We empower our customers by outlining each fundamental step required to achieve their goals, highlight projected outcomes, supporting them with expert knowledge and guidance along the way”.

Absolute Autonomous encourages a strong focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing, acting as a conduit to help companies generate sustainable value from their people at a granular level. We incorporate past learnings and experience from their own site personnel into our initiatives, ensuring this education can be replicated and transferred long-term.

“We essentially coach our clients towards a more productive and efficient AHS operation, drawing upon our proven catalogue of best practice knowledge curated over decades of operational trial and error, and practical experience,” said MacDonald.

“Whether its Run-of-Mine/crusher throughput, high yield dump management strategies, mine planning design specifications, loading unit & ancillary operator AHS tips and tricks, or AHS controller best practice guides, clients will benefit from our rich and diverse practical experience and capabilities.”

“We evaluate AHS fleet performance, historical production limitations, conduct virtual road network audits and outline the impacts, AHS constraint recognition and monitoring techniques, AHS configuration and speed settings, as well as AHS simulator training and integration. We address the people and culture aspect, highlighting any observations around collaboration and leadership, KPI’s and metrics, AHS transition maturity guides, as well as individual skillset and proficiency evaluation”.

The company also creates personalised site-owned proficiency training packages aligned to current knowledge gaps within an AHS operation, for either specific roles, key personnel, or site-wide awareness initiatives. With no bias to any one OEM and having worked intimately with all the leading autonomous haulage systems, customers can be assured the recommendations and coaching delivered will be solely based on improving their clients bottom line.

Proven Results

In 2023, Absolute Autonomous assisted Antofagasta Minerals’ Centinela Mine in Chile to unlock the dormant value within their AHS operation. With a team embedded locally, and within a period of three months, Centinela Mine reached record breaking outcomes. By conducting careful observations and meticulously analysing 12 months of weekly & monthly shift reports, they were able to clearly outline the opportunities and demonstrate the potential uplift for their client.

Working closely with the teams onsite, Absolute Autonomous enabled a breakthrough in material throughput, truck speeds and AHS fleet efficiency, equipment utilisation and overall productivity, as well as seeing a reduction in truck stoppages, cycle times and AHS disruptions.

Accumulatively, the optimisations suggested by Absolute Autonomous unlocked a projected 47.04% improvement in cycle times over a 12-month period for the mine. By making just one simple adjustment to the AHS dump settings, Centinela saw a 34 second cycle time improvement and a 10km/h average increase in truck speed across the mine. Adjustments were carried out on haul route AHS static courses with one CDS hot spot seeing the average truck speed jump from 34km/h to 50 km/h overnight. Attention was given to the AHS crusher location configuration, with a single individual adjustment enabling a throughput improvement of 500,000 tonnes per year.

Providing recommendations around operator proficiency training, roads and intersection improvements, mine planning and design standards, dump management optimisation, equipment configurations and AHS best practices, Absolute Autonomous offered detailed solutions to the hidden limitations that were hindering Centinela’s AHS performance.

By encouraging creative thinking and a ‘think outside the box’ approach to the AHS functionality, the team at Centinela Mine were inspired to proactively design efficient and productive ways of working in the future. Through daily skills coaching and knowledge sharing, Absolute Autonomous were proud to leave Chile knowing they had empowered their customer with the tools and resources required to sustain an efficient AHS operation long-term.



AHS Mate

AHS Mate Final Logo

The latest product release from Absolute Autonomous is the AHS Mate platform. This revolutionary application focuses on enabling the critical performance uplift and safety improvements for every AHS operation.

It’s essentially a next level learning platform and performance optimisation tool that aims to enhance the skillset and knowledge of operators to exponentially unlock efficiency and productivity in a modern AHS mining environment.

“We’ve developed a series of online learning programs and benefit calculators to expand the system functionality proficiency and utilisation from the four main AHS mine site roles,” said MacDonald.

“Focusing on central controllers, pit patrollers, loading unit operators, and AHS operation leadership personnel from the supervisory level upwards.”

“The AHS Mate platform not only has a suite of AHS optimisation courses, but extensive online training guides are available that support AHS key personnel in their learning journey. These can be used as how-to-guides when completing advanced virtual mine design and performance audits, as well as general day to day improvements.”

The unique mobile and PC application-based improvement tool seamlessly provides quantitative data on constraint analysis and predicted throughput increase, offering targeted solutions to mine site personnel including access to comprehensive best practices, AHS shift handover notes, detailed checklists, and pre-shift safety & situational communication effectiveness guides.

MacDonald said the AHS Mate platform is an improvement calculator in your pocket.

“It empowers your people with the context and information they need to understand the impact of current AHS bottlenecks. AHS Mate quantifies potential production uplift from optimising the virtual road network in real-time. This promotes informed decision making, streamlines skills acquisition, and provides context to every improvement”.

In a world first, the AHS Mate platform is supporting mining companies globally to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their long-term net-zero targets.

“It features a carbon emissions calculator, highlighting the positive reduction of harmful greenhouse gases with each road network improvement at your site. It also quantifies the reduced CO2 footprint at your mine with every step you take towards creating a more efficient haulage operation.”

For more information, visit