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Two driverless heavy vehicles crash within weeks

Rio Tinto train
Rio Tinto train

A resources multinational is examining how autonomous carriers were involved in multiple accidents.

Rio Tinto recently revealed that two driverless trains became derailed.

One automated locomotive crashed into stationary wagons about 80km south of Karratha after midnight on 13 May 2024.

“We have notified the appropriate regulators and commenced an investigation. Work will soon begin to clear the rail line,” a Rio spokesperson said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) will investigate the scene for “mechanical failure” and possible diesel and engine oil contamination in the nearby creek.

“The recovery train is reported to have collided with the ore train it was sent to recover after it was disabled,” an ONRSR spokesperson said according to the broadcaster.

The Mining and Energy Union revealed five maintenance workers quickly evacuated their broken down hauler to avoid the impact.

Just three months prior a different driverless train derailed about 120km south of Dampier on February 11.

At the time managing director port, rail and core services Richard Cohen pushed to “understand” what had happened after Autohaul systems “worked as required” during derailment.

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