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Rio Tinto demonstrates autonomous freight train featuring Ansaldo technology

Ansaldo STS says its technology and delivery capability were key to the success of mining giant Rio Tinto’s fully autonomous freight rail trial.

Ansaldo is a specialist supplier of driverless technology for metro, rail solutions.

The company says it has now proven its expertise in autonomous heavy freight rail, following Rio Tinto’s recent successful trial of Australia’s first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey (main picture). 

Through the development and application of highly specialised technology based on the ETCS level 2 signalling standard, Ansaldo STS has worked with Rio Tinto to engineer and deploy a train control solution for Rio Tinto’s remote iron ore rail operations in north-west Western Australia that will support the complete automation of the miner’s rail operations.

The solution includes the installation of a driving module on board each train and enables the fleet’s operation to be centrally managed from a control centre many kilometres away in Perth.


Such a solution delivers significant benefits to the operator including increased safety and productivity, claims Ansaldo.

Roslyn Stuart, Ansaldo STS delivery manager, Australia, emphasises the “key role” Ansaldo STS’ strong partnership with Rio Tinto had played in the successful trial conducted along almost 100 km of remote freight rail line in in north-west Western Australia, and in ultimately achieving the goal of delivering the fully autonomous heavy haul rail operation.

She says: “Ansaldo STS will continue to work closely and provide its support to Rio Tinto to progressively execute the full deployment of the solution, while meeting the highest safety standard.”