April 12, 2021

OusterWaytous400x275Waytous, one of the leading unmanned mining solution providers in China, has announced selecting Ouster’s lidar sensors for its fleet of autonomous mining vehicles. The company’s self-developed “YUGONG” system has been deployed in multiple high-production open-pit mines.

Facing high operating costs, driver shortages, harsh environments, and frequent accidents, traditional mining companies and governments are looking at autonomous mining trucks to improve safety and operating efficiency.

“Mines are relatively safe spaces to deploy autonomous driving technology because they are located in places with few people and limited external interference,” said Long Chen, CEO and co-founder of Waytous. “Such an enclosed environment is ideal for the early deployment of autonomous driving technology.

For example, large mining equipment has many blind spots, similar to large tractor-trailers, long-haul trucks or large forklifts. In addition, the risk of fatigue for drivers is also high. By fully or semi-automating mining equipment with lidar technology that can map the environment in 3D to detect objects in and around the path, several of these challenges can be reduced. In addition, the harsh mining environment that can include bumpy roads, rain, snow, dust, extreme cold, and other weather conditions can pose challenges for mining companies. 

In May 2020, Waytous launched a large-scale autonomous mining truck project in the extremely cold environment at the Baorixile open-pit mine, located in the Inner Mongolia region of China. The project features a 5G network and up to five autonomous mining trucks operating simultaneously.

Ouster’s OS0 and OS1 lidar sensors include a cold start function and can operate in an environment of -40 degrees Celsius, meeting automotive specifications for cold-weather performance. Ouster said its digital lidar passes strict shock and vibration tests before leaving the factory, making it able to operate and provide accurate lidar data in bumpy, unpaved environments.

The digital lidar is also less affected by rain, snow, and dust, which may obscure the lidar window. All of Ouster’s lidars are designed to IP68/69K standards, performing across unpredictable weather conditions and extended outdoor use, Ouster said.

“Ouster’s digital lidar provides high reliability and can operate in extremely cold environments, which are two of the most important factors for autonomous mining trucks,” said Chen. “That’s why Ouster became our first choice. The adoption of autonomous mining trucks will continue to accelerate, and Ouster is ready to scale with us.”