Rio Tinto has signed a deal with Japanese firm Komatsu to purchase a 150-strong fleet of driverless trucks over the next four years.

The trucks will be delivered from 2012 to 2015 and will be utilised for the operations at iron ore mines in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto has made this deal as part of its Mine of the Future programme, which introduces next-generation technologies for mining operations to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve health, safety and environmental performance.

The new trucks will be controlled by the Operations Centre in Perth, which integrates and manages the logistics of 14 mines, three ports and two railways.

Komatsu president and CEO Kunio Noji said that his firm’s AHS technology will accelerate Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future objectives through improving safety and mine operations.