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Suncor to introduce driverless haul trucks on oilsands sites

Suncor plans to introduce autonomous haul trucks in some Alberta oil sands operations.
Suncor plans to introduce autonomous haul trucks in some Alberta oil sands operations. YouTube/Suncor Energy

Suncor Energy Inc. says over the next six years it expects to deploy more than 150 electric autonomous haul trucks at its company operated-mines — a move expected to decrease its equipment operator positions as early as 2019.

The Calgary-based oil and gas firm says it will continue to work with the union on strategies to minimize workforce impacts, with phased implementation to start at its North Steepbank mine.

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The company says the implementation of AHS will change roles and required skill sets for some employees at Suncor’s operations over time.

Suncor says, following evaluations completed over the past four years, it has validated that AHS technology can be used safely, effectively and efficiently in its operating environment.

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It says the technology offers many advantages over existing truck and shovel operations, including enhanced safety performance, better operating efficiency and lower operating costs.

Suncor says its planned deployment of AHS technology is one of the largest such investments in the world.