CRCMining’s Automation Program aims to:
- Develop innovative automation technologies that provide step change improvements in multifactor productivity and safety in open-pit and underground operations of the future.
- Facilitate global industry acceptance and implementation of step change automation technologies.
- Provide a measurement of multifactor productivity and safety of step change automation technologies.
- Capture the value of step change automation technologies.
The Program’s strategy to achieve this mission is to:
- Develop a reference architecture able to characterise automated mining systems using a common industry-accepted language and method;
- Be the custodian and purveyor of methods derived from the reference architecture e.g. collision avoidance, interoperability standards, etc.; and
- Manage a carefully selected portfolio of automation technology projects defined, classified and ranked by value.
The research challenges being addressed by the program are focussed on addressing five gaps that limit the ability to deploy sophisticated automation technologies in mining:
- The implementation of technology in mining;
- Control strategies that enable automated machines to operate interdependently with other equipment, both manned and automated, in semi-structured environments;
- Optimisation algorithms that find the most efficient way to break a high level task description into a detailed action plan;
- Situational awareness capabilities that are able to replace the many and varied functions performed by human operators; and
- Perception systems that enable effective remote operation of machines over potentially long distances where communication bandwidths are limited and also may be significant latency.