The evolution of advanced guidance techniques for autonomous underground vehicles

Abstract This paper describes how Automated Mining Systems (AMS) is evolving the state-of-the-art in guidance systems for autonomous underground vehicles. The techniques, trade-offs, and lessons learned from these systems are described, including the safety regime that has been implemented.

First generation autonomous guidance systems for underground vehicles relied on infrastructure for the vehicle to follow. However, there are additional costs associated with that approach.

The current generation uses a pair of laser range finders as its only guidance sensors. This system uses a minimum of infrastructure, in the form of a redundant system of location referencing. Advanced steering and drive control algorithms are incorporated into this generation of system.

The next generation of infrastructureless guidance systems will be based on a 3D vision sensor, which was originally developed for autonomous Mars rovers and is being adapted for underground mining use. Results of early underground field trials are presented, along with a description of this emerging technology.
Keywords: Automated Mining Systems, Infrastructureless guidance systems, Underground vehicles, Guidance system safety, 3D vision systems
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Summary: The objective of this investigation was to determine how the losses of nickel, copper and cobalt in fayalite slags could be controlled for nickel mattes with iron contents below 5 wt%. Laboratory-converting and slag-cleaning experiments were carried out at 1250°C.

Several variables were investigated during and after converting to help minimize the amount of nickel and cobalt that reports to the slag. The variables used were oxygen concentration in the blast, coke breeze addition and nitrogen...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): P. Toscano
Keywords: Bessemer mattes, Slags, Nickel, Copper, Cobalt
Issue: 1076
Volume: 97
Year: 2004
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Summary: A mine’s inherent capacity is dictated by factors such as equipment, design, people, processes, and environment. Actual production may approach, but never surpass, the inherent capacity limit. The inherent capacity ceiling can only be increased through re-engineering. Autonomous haulage systems have the potential to significantly increase a mine’s inherent and realized capacity. Realized capacity may be maximized through the optimization of soft factors such as the processes,...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): M.W. Lewis, J. Werner, B. Sambirsky
Keywords: Capacity, Maintenance, Utilization, Mining, Remote condition monitoring, Mobile equipment
Issue: 1076
Volume: 97
Year: 2004
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Summary: Information and communication technology (ICT) is seen as a key source of future productivity improvements in mines. The information technology infrastructure (ITI) necessary to achieve these productivity improvements will come in the form of data integrated from multiple source systems throughout the mining value chain. Two pure approaches are available: supplier-controlled or operations-controlled data structures; each strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages. Case studies...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): S. Dessureault, J. Porter, M. Woodhall
Keywords: Information and communication technology (ICT), Information technology infrastructure (ITI), Data integration, Mining value chain
Issue: 1076
Volume: 97
Year: 2004
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Summary: In the mining industry, maintenance is a key priority and a major expense. As mining equipment is large in scale, high in cost, and difficult to tow, it is key to maintain equipment on a timely basis. Breakdown in -40°C or away from a maintenance station can cause great costs in repair as well as lost production.

It has often been quoted that about 5% of the North American production is lost every year due to unscheduled downtime. About one-third of the downtime is attributable to equipment...
Publication: CIM Bulletin
Author(s): Y. Faitakis, C. Mackenzie, G.J. Powley
Issue: 1076
Volume: 97
Year: 2004
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