The Pathway To Autonomous Mining: Step 1 — Driver Assist

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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