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03.03.2017

The Pathway To Autonomous Mining: Step 2 — Partial Autonomy

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Related topics: Industries · Mining



Like most organizations today, companies in the mining industry are looking to technological advancements in autonomy to remain competitive and achieve the highest levels of productivity. But migrating from a traditional manned operation to a driverless fleet is new territory that can be fraught with uncertainty and financial risk, causing reluctance to adopt advanced robotics.

ASI understands the natural concerns regarding the expense and unfamiliarity of integrating artificial intelligence, and has developed a gradual, three-step approach to autonomous mining which begins with driver assist, and seamlessly advances to step two, partial autonomy.



In the first blog in this mini-series on the pathway to autonomy, we explained how driver assist functions provide familiarity with smart technology at low-risk and sensible cost, while keeping manual control in the hands of humans.

By equipping an existing fleet with Mobius Command and Control, operators can become comfortable using software for tasks such as position monitoring, collision warning (CWS), and fatigue monitoring.

Having mastered and benefited from the advantages of driver assist, operations can relinquish even more responsibilities to autonomous technology, while retaining human control of the fleet.



Already accustomed to using CWS, operators can incorporate collision avoidance systems (CAS) for further safety enhancements. When collision scenarios are detected, CAS can apply the brakes and throttle system of vehicles.

This function adds path filtering as well as additional sensor filters. CAS provides an additional level of security in the event an operator becomes fatigued, distracted, or otherwise impaired. This module will require the addition of ASI’s vehicle automation hardware.

The implementation of auto-spotting can help maintain an operator’s performance throughout the duration of a shift. Auto-spotting functions similarly to cruise control or autopilot. When engaged, the auto spotting module drives the vehicle to a cusp point, then back to a preset spot as established by the operator.



The operator can assume control at any time during the spotting cycle by tapping the brake. This module requires the hardware upgrade described for CAS, and the loader client kit to be installed on each loader/shovel that interfaces with the auto spotting module.

Collision avoidance, and auto-spotting are partially autonomous enhancements mining operations can integrate, before graduating to the final step in the pathway to an unmanned fleet — full autonomy.

Be sure to visit us soon to learn more about this final phase; and for more information about our offerings, visit us at www.asirobots.com today!