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Canada Transportation AI Technology

Autonomous Dump Trucks Are Coming To Canada's Oil Sands 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-teach-the-machines-to-devour-our-planet dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "According to a Bloomberg report, Canadian oil sands giant Suncor, which is "Canada's largest energy company by market value," is currently testing haul trucks that are run by computers. Extracting bitumen from sands requires first digging up an enormous amount of the sand itself, with about two tons of sands required to produce one barrel of oil. Digging up all of that sand is the job of huge excavators, which then offload into gigantic haul trucks that transport sands to extraction plants. Time is money, and in this case being faster means carrying as much sand as possible. Haul trucks can carry hundreds of tons at a time, and are in constant motion, moving back and forth between excavator and extraction plant."
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Autonomous Dump Trucks Are Coming To Canada's Oil Sands

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  • Re:Obsolete Humans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Friday November 01, 2013 @06:25PM (#45306073)

    This is a common discussion, but fortunately in the oil industry it won't happen for a long time.

    The oil industry is notoriously slow-moving. The executives do not like new tech. New tech is untested, unproven. That means risky, and risky means both lawsuits and lost production time. Then, once the executives finally sign off on it and it gets built, the roughnecks simply don't use it, especially with automatic systems. Why automate something they've been doing well enough for decades, they say. I've watched a worker switch off a million-dollar heave compensator (adjusts crane speed based on ocean wave motion, so a bobbing ship can smoothly lay a load onto the still seafloor) because "the computer don't know what it's doin'."

    Other professions might lose out to automation. But the oil industry roughnecks will be working for a long time yet.

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson

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