The future of mining lies in autonomy. While mining companies understand autonomous technology is the way forward, there is confusion as to the best practices for transitioning from manned to driverless fleets. ASI has partnered with industry leaders to integrate autonomous solutions and, as a result, gained unique insight into how to successfully deploy this advanced technology. Here are four key considerations to keep in mind in order to pave an effective path toward autonomy.

Interoperability: Currently, there are no common standards or protocols for autonomous systems, leading to a lack of cohesion and suboptimal productivity from automated vehicles. Mobius provides open protocols to allow interoperability between vehicle automation controllers from multiple vendors.

Integration: Mining requires numerous vehicles to execute operations including dozers, blast trucks, drills, haul trucks, loaders, and more. Much of the equipment in a mining fleet and the current systems that support them are built on proprietary technology that is not made to seamlessly integrate with one another. This makes it difficult to transition into full scale autonomy as mining companies spend money on piecemeal projects that don’t work together, leading to decreased efficiency.

Our Mobius software is an OEM agnostic command and control platform for fleet wide traffic management that doesn’t rely on proprietary systems, making it versatile and enabling autonomy across all equipment no matter the manufacturer

Implementation: Implementing full-scale autonomous solutions is impeded by the scope and complexity of such an undertaking. Companies find it difficult to finance and support a broad program, and have concerns about the short-term impact of implementation on productivity. Our technology is scalable, allowing for an incremental approach toward automation that can be expanded, phase by phase, until full autonomy is achieved.

Value Proposition: While driverless vehicle fleets are the future of mining, it’s important that autonomous technology isn’t adopted for technology’s sake. Companies must be able to extract real value from making an investment in these advanced solutions. Using an incremental approach and equipping vehicles with our autonomy kit in a scalable and methodical fashion allows us to demonstrate the value of deploying autonomous technology before further investment is made.

ASI has emerged as a leader in autonomous solutions, and our technology for mining vehicle fleets is specifically developed to improve the safety and productivity of mines. To learn more about our revolutionary solutions and how it can transform your mining operation, visit us online at www.asirobots.com today!

The benefits autonomy will bring to mining operations are well known, but the way to transition to unmanned fleets is less clear. In this, the first in a trilogy of blog posts, we’ll demonstrate how an incremental, multi-phase approach can serve as a successful path to full scale autonomy.

A mining operation may be slow to adopt advantageous autonomous technology for a number of sensible reasons. The first is cost. Transitioning from a manned fleet to a robotic workforce requires a significant investment that puts autonomy out of the hands of many companies. The second is unfamiliarity. Managing artificial intelligence and advanced robotics isn’t quite as intuitive as hiring and training a human.

Another reason is short-term unproductivity. Operations simply can’t afford the temporary reduction in productivity during the migration process. In order to provide for a seamless transition, ASI offers a gradual approach to adopting this next generation technology.

Similar to the recently unveiled CNH Industrial autonomous concept tractor, this security robot is built on ASI’s hardware and software platform. Mobius, ASI’s command and control software enables a single operator to oversee the coordination and cooperation of multiple A-UGVs.

Driver assist. It’s a feature that comes with more and more vehicles offered by automakers over the last few years. The car industry understands that people are naturally wary of yielding control of their car over to artificial intelligence, and have rolled out driver assist technology to get individuals comfortable with a small degree of autonomy. Cars equipped with driver assist features can parallel park themselves and stay in their lanes while cruising on freeways. Driver assist features are also available for mining vehicles, and marks the first, affordable and low risk step into transforming from a manned to a fully autonomous fleet.

At ASI, our engineers have developed intelligent hardware and software that can be used to bring autonomous functionality to existing mining equipment. It all starts with Mobius FMS (Fleet Management System). Mobius FMS is an OEM agnostic command and control platform designed for interoperability and scalability. The primary functions of Mobius FMS include dispatch, position monitoring, and reporting functionality. Mobius FMS serves as a hub that allows for the integration of driver assist features like collision warning and avoidance systems (CWS/CAS), fatigue monitoring, and spotting assist.

The CWS module is comprised of an operator warning system which does not interact with vehicle actuation. Once Mobius FMS is setup, no additional hardware is needed for basic CWS functionality as it utilizes GPS proximity warnings. The base CWS module is also expandable to include sensor based detection along with projected path filters for additional intelligence.

ASI’s robust Mobius FMS and CWS module are cost-effective driver assist features suitable for mining companies looking to carefully integrate autonomy into their operations. The driver assist phase provides familiarity with intelligent technology at low-risk, while keeping manual control in the hands of humans.

It is the first step to achieving an unmanned, fully autonomous fleet. But before that can be realized, a second step involving partial-autonomy must be completed. Be sure to visit us soon to learn more about this next phase; and for more information about our offerings, visit us at www.asirobots.com today!

For more information about security robots and ASI visit www.asirobots.com/security

Every car maker and Silicon Valley giant seems to be getting into the autonomous vehicle game. That’s because fully autonomous driving is the future, and companies want to capture a slice of what will become a major, disruptive market. In fact, we don’t have to wait until some far-off date, as driverless technology is already being used, developed, and refined every single day.

One of the primary motivators for the rapid adoption of autonomous driving technology is its potential to dramatically reduce traffic collisions and save lives. In 2015, there were an estimated 35,000 motor vehicle deaths, with the majority of all crashes caused by human error. Having smart AI take the wheel can improve safety. It already is.

Proving grounds are where car makers send their vehicles for durability and misuse testing. These facilities feature miles of tracks that automotive companies use to put their latest model, or one up for recall, through extreme conditions so they can analyze how it performs, and evaluate it for manufacturing defects or design miscalculations.

In the past, a human had to sit in the driver’s seat and steer the vehicle aroundthe course. Inserting a person into an unproven test vehicle and sending them down very hazardous tracks which are purposefully designed with the worst imaginable road conditions. Injuries or even deaths could occur from rough durability tracks, jumps, vehicle rolls, and other scenarios, making the proving grounds a dangerous place – but not anymore.

At Autonomous Solutions Inc., we specialize in engineering independent vehicle automation systems that remove the human from the driver’s seat, and out of harm’s way. Our researchers have developed technology for proving ground automation, bringing safety to durability and misuse testing.

We’ve partnered with some of the largest automotive brands in the world to improve the safety and efficiency of their durability and misuse testing. Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Hyundai all trust ASI’s Mobius on their proving grounds.

We’ve even worked with the U.S. Air Force, applying our automation kits to drive vehicles pulling target sleds from a control center 50 miles away!

Our vehicle automation systems start with installing hardware into test vehicles to control steering, acceleration, braking, and transmission. Then, equipped with our intelligent Mobius command and control platform, remote operators are able to send the vehicle down specific drive paths. A single operator can even control multiple vehicles, interacting in the same area or different locations for increased productivity.

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Autonomous technology is being leveraged to disrupt a number of industries including transportation, manufacturing, and product fulfillment. Autonomy removes much of the human risk associated with dangerous jobs by putting the person behind a remote command center far from the danger, and letting robots perform hazardous tasks instead. Nowhere will we find the life-saving benefits of this technology more apparent than in the perilous occupation of mining.

Mining has historically been one of the most treacherous jobs in the world, with the probability of injuries and deaths higher than that of most professions. In an effort to enhance both safety and productivity in mining, robotics leader Autonomous Solutions, Inc has developed revolutionary hardware and software that removes humans from the vehicle driver’s seat and puts them in front of a command center, where they can remotely execute mining activities without any of the risks associated with manual operation.

“ASI’s autonomy kit can automate any vehicle in your existing mining fleet.”

ASI’s autonomy kit can automate any vehicle in your existing mining fleet. Dozers, blast trucks, excavators, underground LHD loaders, and front end loaders are just some of the mining vehicles we can bring to life with our autonomous technology. After we install hardware into your equipment, the human operator can then monitor multiple vehicles with our Mobius software platform. Mobius operates on a dedicated server housed in a control room on site, and is linked to each vehicle via an RF Network such as wireless mesh, LTE, or other connection. Not only is the human now safely out of harm’s way, a single operator can manage a fleet of vehicles from a remote location, improving mining efficiency.

ASI’s autonomy kit can automate any vehicle in your existing mining fleet. Dozers, blast trucks, excavators, underground LHD loaders, and front end loaders are just some of the mining vehicles we can bring to life with our autonomous technology. After we install hardware into your equipment, the human operator can then monitor multiple vehicles with our Mobius software platform. Mobius operates on a dedicated server housed in a control room on site, and is linked to each vehicle via an RF Network such as wireless mesh, LTE, or other connection. Not only is the human now safely out of harm’s way, a single operator can manage a fleet of vehicles from a remote location, improving mining efficiency.

Mobius is designed to help mines realize increased productivity. The platform allows vehicle operations to be managed in a reliable manner, and significantly reduces labor, fuel, and maintenance costs.

“Mobius is designed to help mines realize increased productivity.”

Regulations imposed for human operations restrict flexibility in mine design. But our advanced AI carries no such restrictions, giving mine operators more freedom to alter designs in areas such as road widths or wall heights, which can greatly reduce removal costs. Robots don’t require breaks and can work for an extended time period, further increasing vehicle utilization and mine productivity. Better tracking and control of vehicle operations extends asset life in the areas of tires, brakes, and other components for even deeper cost savings.

Our autonomous technology is available today for mines anywhere around the world. It is scalable – smaller mine operations can implement the Mobius platform and expand it in the future. Because Mobius is OEM agnostic, it works with your existing mining vehicles and can integrate your entire fleet into a fully autonomous operation in a phase-by-phase approach or all at once. To find out more about how our game-changing autonomous technology is causing a seismic shift in mining while enhancing safety and productivity, visit us at asirobots.com!

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Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) and CNH Industrial have announced the unveiling of concept autonomous tractors. ASI is CNH Industrial’s technology provider responsible for developing autonomous vehicle technology for a concept cabless Case IH Magnum and a concept New Holland T8, based on a current production tractor.

The tractors, unveiled today at the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, include the ability for autonomous seeding, planting and tillage, for broad acre and row crop farming. Advanced path planning technology will allow farmers to manage their fields efficiently and oversee the overall operation of several vehicles at once. The vehicles are also capable of obstacle detection which will enhance safety in the agriculture industry.

“ASI is the industry-leading developer of autonomous solutions in the off-road vehicle segment"

“ASI is the industry-leading developer of autonomous solutions in the off-road vehicle segment and the natural choice to be one of CNH Industrial’s key technology providers. CNH Industrial has had a long and successful relationship with ASI and we will continue to work together in developing advanced autonomous solutions for the future benefit of our global customers” stated Richard Tobin, CEO of CNH Industrial.

This new technology gives farmers the ability to operate their tractor as both a manned or unmanned vehicle.

At a farmer's command, autonomous tractors can drive from a parking area along private roads to a field and begin work without any intervention.

ASI has nearly two decades of autonomous technology development experience. As a smaller and more agile technology developer, ASI is able to partner with large global companies to help them disrupt their market with multi-vehicle autonomy faster and more economically than they could in any other way.

“Our relationship with CNH Industrial is vital in facilitating the near term disruption of how farming is done. We’re thrilled to be working with the leaders in Ag innovation to make this exciting future of driverless tractors a reality,” says Mel Torrie, ASI founder and CEO. “CNH Industrial’s selection of ASI as a long term, strategic robotic development provider validates the capability and flexibility of our robotics platform in reducing the risk and costs for equipment manufacturers to bring advanced capabilities to their respective industries.”

“Our relationship with CNH Industrial is vital in facilitating the near term disruption of how farming is done."

ASI and CNH Industrial have joined forces to create a development model and architecture framework that is flexible and dynamic, able to quickly adapt and adopt new technologies and standards as fast as they become available. This concept tractor results from the integration of ASI’s autonomous hardware and software with CNH Industrial’s advanced platform.

ASI also leverages this autonomous technology with other large global companies such as FCA US, Ford, Toyota, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Dematic, and a large global security company and others to be announced in coming weeks.

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About Autonomous Solutions, Inc.

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) designs and manufactures unmanned vehicle systems, software, and components that are OEM agnostic. ASI’s robotic kits and command and control software can be leveraged in a variety of industries including agriculture, automotive, mining, military, security, and industrial applications. ASI’s vehicle automation kits are OEM independent and have been used for many different applications. Clients have experienced enhanced safety, increased efficiency, and improved accuracy.

For over 16 years, ASI has been a leader in vehicle automation. ASI has a strong software team which makes up over half of its engineering work force. ASI’s Mobius software allows for command and control of a fleet of vehicles in addition to ease of use, industry specific task planning, and vehicle diagnostics. ASI has extensive experience automating vehicles of all shapes and sizes with an emphasis on systems integration, obstacle detection and avoidance, tele-operation, and fully autonomous controls.

About CNH Industrial N.V.

CNH Industrial N.V. (NYSE: CNHI /MI: CNHI) is a global leader in the capital goods sector with established industrial experience, a wide range of products and a worldwide presence. Each of the individual brands belonging to the Company is a major international force in its specific industrial sector: Case IH, New Holland Agriculture and Steyr for tractors and agricultural machinery; Case and New Holland Construction for earth moving equipment; Iveco for commercial vehicles; Iveco Bus and Heuliez Bus for buses and coaches; Iveco Astra for quarry and construction vehicles; Magirus for firefighting vehicles; Iveco Defence Vehicles for defence and civil protection; and FPT Industrial for engines and transmissions. More information can be found on the corporate website: www.cnhindustrial.com

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At the end of last year, ten of the world's largest consumer vehicle manufacturers combined to announce that automated emergency braking systems would be a standard feature in all new vehicle models produced by the companies. The move is designed to reduce the number of rear end collisions which make up about a third of all accidents.

and autonomous braking system braking for a vehicle

While each manufacturer's system would work differently, the fundamental concept is the same: if forward facing sensors detect a slower moving or stopped vehicle ahead, the brakes automatically engage without driver intervention. "We are entering an era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen," said Anthony Foxx, US Transportation Secretary in the Los Angeles Times article.

"We are entering an era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring, rather than just protecting occupants when crashes happen,"

Regardless of where your opinion falls on this specific topic, it's important to recognize that the automatic emergency braking system is just one of several autonomous vehicle technologies that have or will shortly make it into consumer vehicles. Advances such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and automatic parallel parking have already made their debut and are becoming increasingly affordable options. In each case, the combination of sensors and intelligent action on the part of the vehicle has its roots in robotics. The benefits to safety and convenience will continue to push the industry toward robotic vehicles.

However, because of the substantial legal issues involved, the unmanned industry generally has steered clear of consumer vehicles. California recently released draft regulation proposals signaling that liability of these vehicles could rest on the vehicle manufacturers. Nothing has been passed on the federal or state level though so some are still trying to anticipate the eventual adoption of fully automated vehicles on public roads and what it will take to get the industry there. For example, the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan DOT, have created Mcity, a mock "downtown" that simulates the unexpected variables that come with driving in urban conditions, allowing manufacturers to test autonomous vehicles in a realistic environment. ASI also expanded its test facilities in northern Utah to allow for simulating some of these situations.

Fully autonomous systems have already been successfully applied to consumer vehicles in closed/controlled environments. Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been working with Ford Motor Company since 2011 and developed a robotic durability testing program. Robotic technology is retrofitted to new vehicle models and operated from a central command center at Ford's Michigan Proving Ground facility. The robotic technology enables Ford to remove human drivers from the most punishing test tracks and run durability testing 24/7.

Despite the progress of the University of Michigan, ASI, and other innovators like Google with their Google Car program, full adoption of autonomous vehicles on the road still seems a ways in the future. But that's not to say that we won't continue to see individual autonomous technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, trickle into the consumer market.

If the last year has taught the mining industry anything, it would be the sheer unpredictability of the sector. Commodity prices continued to dip toward unprecedented lows as the anticipated resurgence of commodities appears farther away than the industry had hoped. Miners are left to brace for more possible bad news in 2016.

But that's not to say that there are not still opportunities to shave costs, improve productivity, and position for the upswing. Deloitte's "Tracking the Trends 2016" report details several strategies that will help companies navigate the mine field that is today's mining industry. Deloitte’s top strategy? Investment in innovation.

"One strategy involves a continued investment in innovation," the report suggests.
"Companies embracing innovation are improving mining intensity whilst reducing people, capital, and energy intensity."
"In fact… some miners have realized energy saving of 10-40% by investing in renewable energy installations, deploying innovative energy technologies, and driving towards more automated mine processes to optimize energy consumption."

Beyond improvements in energy consumption, miners can focus on automating both processes and vehicles to achieve significant productivity gains. In an article to World Coal, ABB's Adrian Beer suggested that the integration of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) can help miners achieve dramatic efficiency gains.
"[IT/OT convergence] allows the entire operation to optimize its production processes to maximize efficiency improvements, sometimes as high as 5-10%, which are results that drop straight to the bottom line."
As sensors become increasingly affordable and as equipment becomes more internet-capable, mining companies will be able to collect and analyze large amounts of data enabling them to pinpoint drains on productivity.

Mobius Command and Control software allows unmanned vehicles to perform in hazardous areas without endangering the operator.
Our Mobius Command and Control software allows unmanned vehicles to perform in hazardous areas without endangering the operator.

"The move toward autonomous vehicles and automated technologies has already revolutionized mining operations," reads Deloitte. "As the 'intelligence' of these machines grows, they will be able to perform increasingly complex tasks, including hazardous activities--reducing labor costs and enhancing productivity as a result." Mining major Rio Tinto demonstrated in numbers released in October that a network of autonomous haul trucks in the Pilbara region outperformed a manned fleet by an average of 12%.

Investment in innovation holds many benefits to mining companies, but this is only one of the suggestions offered by the mining experts at Deloitte. To explore additional suggestions and to gear up for mining in 2016,

The 2016 Robotics Business Review logo

Autonomous Solutions, Inc. (ASI) has been elected to Robotics Business Review (RBR) fifth annual RBR50 list for the second straight year. ASI has been recognized as one of the most noteworthy companies in the global robotics industry for 2016 alongside robotic giants like Google, FANUC, and Foxconn.

RBR50 companies are recognized based on their innovation, groundbreaking applications, commercial success and potential, and represent many different levels and facets of the robotics ecosystem.

“We are thrilled to be elected to the RBR50 for a second year in a row. After 15 years in business the technology readiness and customer demand are finally converging for what looks to be an exponential adoption curve,” says Mel Torrie, ASI founder and CEO. “We have seen more demand in the last 18 months than we’ve seen in the previous 15 years and we’re fortunate to have assembled the needed productization team to complement our research capability. We could not have accomplished this organic growth without patient and forward looking early adopter partners and we are thankful for their support.”

ASI’s hardware and software robotic building blocks are used in productizing driverless ground vehicle systems for applications like mining, agriculture, cleaning, security, and automotive. Customers are starting to realize the benefits of this technology including higher safety, dramatically lower maintenance costs, and maximum productivity. Thanks to the downward trend of sensor and processor costs the return on investment is getting higher and faster.

ASI has a very busy 2016 ahead of it according to Jared Pratt, Vice President of Business Development. Pratt says the interest for this kind of technology is only growing. “There is so much opportunity right in front of us in some of our larger industries that we could see the need for doubling our staff of 100 plus just to keep up.”

“There is so much opportunity right in front of us in some of our larger industries that we could see the need for doubling our staff of 100 plus just to keep up.”

With the robotics industry becoming more competitive than ever, new innovations, technologies, and companies are emerging faster than ever. The RBR50 list outlines those companies who should be kept on your business radar.

This international compilation spans 11 countries and in addition to the large conglomerates, 23% of the list is comprised of lesser-known startups. The RBR50 list is dynamic, with robotics companies entering and leaving on an annual basis and thus creating a list that is indicative of where the global robotics industry as a whole is headed. “The World Economic Forum cites 2016 as the launch of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and has tabbed robotics as the lead player in that transformation. Each of the RBR50 for 2016 should be duly proud that the robotics community has selected them to lead this charge,” said Tom Green, RBR Editor in Chief.

About Autonomous Solutions, Inc.

For more than 15 years, ASI has been a world leader in unmanned ground vehicle solutions. From our northern Utah headquarters, ASI serves clients around the world in the mining, agriculture, automotive, military, and manufacturing industries with remote control, teleoperated, and fully automated, coordinated multi-vehicle solutions. ASI's universal, OEM-independent technology allows organizations to improve productivity, enhance safety, reduce costs, and increase accuracy. For more information visit www.asirobots.com.

About Robotics Business Review

Robotics Business Review provides business intelligence for the global robotics industry. Members enjoy excusive insights into global news, tracking of financial transactions, analysis of new technologies and companies, annual and quarterly research reports, access to the RBR50 Top 50 Companies list and much more. Visit RoboticsBusinessReview.com.

Volatility in the mining industry caused by, amongst other things, shrinking global demand and record low commodity prices has left mining companies looking for ways to retool their organizations and processes to cope with what some are calling the “new normal.” Mining majors are beginning to exhaust classic short term fixes, such as Anglo American’s massive restructure that would release 85,000 workers over the next few years, and are now looking to other sources to achieve long term productivity and process improvements.

In the shadow of these challenges, Deloitte released "Tracking the Trends 2016 " The report is designed to focus on the current issues in the mining industry and provide suggestions on where miners can go to meet these challenges. We previously focused on Deloitte’s recommendation to invest in innovation and the massive productivity gains achieved by several mining companies by leveraging technology.

In another strategy, Deloitte suggests mining companies build bridges with other industries to learn and incorporate lessons on process optimization. The manufacturing and automotive industries in particular have a long history with lean production systems as well as investment in robotic technology.

The mining industry can learn from the automotive industry's automation

"The Ford Motor Company is a salient case in point," says Deloitte. "In 2006, the company lost over US$12 billion following a collapse in consumer demand. Between 2011 and 2014, however, Ford realized annual profits ranging from US$6.2 billion to US$8.3 billion."

One of the reasons for this dramatic turnaround—of which we at ASI have a particularly intimate knowledge—was Ford's willingness to
"embrace emerging technologies, such as robotics, self-driving vehicles, connecting vehicles to the cloud, and hybrid and electric vehicle development."
Since 2011, ASI has been working with Ford to develop a robotic durability testing program . The program improves safety by removing test drivers from the most jarring test tracks and improves productivity by allowing vehicles to test 24/7. The same automation technologies that delivered productivity and safety improvements to Ford's durability testing program can be realized in mining vehicle automation.

“Although there are as many differences between the automotive and mining sectors as there are similarities,” Deloitte concluded,
“forward-thinking miners can likely make unanticipated productivity gains by taking lessons from this example.”

Looking to and leveraging lessons learned by other industries may hold the key for improving productivity for mining companies, but this is just one of the suggestions offered by Deloitte. To explore additional suggestions and to gear up for mining in 2016,