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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Fully automated mining and factories on Earth a precursor of automation for space

• by brian wang

Robotic mining

Rio Tinto has 73 self driving trucks hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia. They also use robotic rock drilling rigs. They are starting to use self driving trains that will be loaded and unloaded automatically. Driverless locomotives hae been tested extensively in 2017 and will be fully deployed by 2018.

BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, is also deploying driverless trucks and drills on iron ore mines in Australia. Suncor, Canada's largest oil company, has begun testing driverless trucks on oil sands fields in Alberta.

Driverless trucks have proven to be roughly 15 percent cheaper to run than vehicles with humans behind the wheel. The mining companies are going as aggressively as possible down this path.

Robotic and automated factories

Foxconn plans fully automated factories and already has automated production lines. The three step plan is:

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