Rio Tinto has developed the world’s first driverless heavy-haul Long distance rail network.
More than 200 completely automated locomotives are monitored by a control centre in Perth, 1500 kilometres away.
“It’s the world’s biggest robot,” Rio Tinto’s Van Vella said.
The project has been a decade in the making and cost $940 million.
The trains will deliver iron ore from 16 mines across the Pilbara to the Cape Lambert and Dampier ports.
Approximately 30 journeys are completed each day across 1700 kilometres of track.
The typical journey takes about 40 hours and Rio Tinto says each trip is now safer and more efficient with Collision Detection Technology.
“Collectively we save an hour on average from avoiding those driver changes,” Mr Vella said.
Rio Tinto says no jobs will be lost with all staff who have been replaced by automation to be re-skilled.
Now the company is looking to advance the rail network to make it more energy efficient.
“Imagine a giant battery on one of those locomotives that’s taking energy from the train as it’s breaking,” Mr Vella said.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019