Wenco International Mining Systems and Oxbotica have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop the world’s first Open Autonomy solution for mining.
This industry-leading system is expected to provide flexible and efficient autonomous deployments for mining.
The partnership avoids vendor lock-ins and offers customers the freedom to choose their preferred technologies, which are independent of their existing systems. It also allows skilled autonomy suppliers, who may be new to mining, to integrate into existing operations with backing from an industry expert.
According to Wenco, this new solution will allow miners to operate any open standard-based vehicle and integrate it into their existing fleet.
“We are very excited to be collaborating with Oxbotica,” Andrew Pyne, Wenco’s president and CEO, said in a release.
“We are confident that combining Oxbotica’s proven capability in autonomy with our three decades worth of experience in interoperable fleet management systems for large mining customers enables us to create the industry’s first full-function open autonomy platform.”
Both Wenco and Oxbotica have expressed their support for an open and interoperable ecosystem of partners where solutions are integrated alongside existing mine infrastructure.
“Regardless of the strategies of other industrial autonomy vendors, Wenco and Oxbotica believe firmly in the principle of open systems and consider it the primary way to bring about our joint goals of widespread adoption of autonomous technology and safer, more productive industrial operations. Our joint platform will allow customers to choose any open standards-based vehicle and integrate it into their existing operations,” Pyne added.
“We strongly believe an Open Autonomy architecture that enables new and innovative entrants, like Oxbotica, to join and speed up autonomy adoption will be beneficial for the whole industry. Together with Wenco, we would like to accelerate the adoption of autonomy in mining, making it much easier for mine operators to deploy autonomous technologies and enjoy the benefits,” concluded Ozgur Tohumcu, Oxbotica’s CEO.
Initial trials are underway, and the companies are recruiting mining partners for testing.
Wenco is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Hitachi Construction Machinery and has 30 years of experience with developing technology solutions for mining companies.
The company’s vision of Open Autonomy was first announced at the 2019 CIM Convention. According to Wenco, for a system to be considered ‘open’, it must meet four key elements: be fully defined so different parties can work within the same framework, be stable, be published and be unable to be controlled by a single party.
Oxbotica was founded in 2014 out of the University of Oxford to develop an autonomy software platform that enables faster deployment of industry-specific autonomy applications. Its mining solutions for vehicle fleets combine advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and computer vision.