Autonomous Robotic InSpEction
Surveying the structure of a mine after a blast.
The mining industry is committed to operating safely and reducing accident numbers, and it is increasingly migrating underground as surface deposits are exhausted. The underground environment is challenging due to: high rock stress, high temperatures, poor communications with surface, restricted access and lack of access to satellite positioning systems.
In blast mining and tunnelling it is critically important to survey the roof conditions after a blast. This process is currently done manually and poses a high risk to the people performing the task, it is also time-consuming and subject to human error. The ARISE automated system can help to mark dangerous areas to workers entering the mine after a blast.
ARISE aims to implement autonomous surveys of geotechnical conditions during the normally unproductive period immediately after the blast when workers vacate the mine due to post-blasting fumes and seismic risk. The robotic platform will be used to: Survey roof conditions in newly-blasted areas; Monitor material flow in orepasses and extraction points, particularly mapping ‘hangups’ that can block orepasses.
The Rover starts at underground location near to the operation area. This can typically be anywhere from ten to two hundred metres from the blast are. If needed the robot can be manually controlled and moved to a different starting point.
The operator presses button 1 and the robot will enter follow mode. It will follow two metres behind the operator as they lead the robot to the intended blast area. While on the way the robot will remember the markers that it passes to help it navigate through the environment. Once at the blast site, the operator will press button 1 again and the robot will exit follow mode. After waiting for 30 seconds it will then return to its starting position.
The operator will load the charges and prepare the area for the blast. As the operator passes the robot they press button 2, activating ‘Listen for blast’ mode.
After detecting the blast the robot will wait a specified amount of time before beginning its operations. It then returns autonomously to the blast area, starts the mapping instrument and creates an accurate 3D survey of the area. The data is processed onboard and the robot gives an indication of the dangerous areas to the operator.
The robot displays or projects markings directly on the roof of the mine to warn the operator where the dangerous areas are. The data can be transferred on a storage device to a mine engineer to be merged into the map of the mine.
The video below shows some early testing, demonstrating the ARISE robot following an operator in the mine.