Did you know Amira Global played a role in creating Australia’s automated mining fleet?
In 1998, Amira Global formally began project P517: Autonomous Underground Mining Vehicles with CSIRO and the University of Sydney to determine what the mining industry might expect from an automation system.
The project arose following a short series of tests in 1996 at Mount Isa Mines to evaluate the suitability of a range of sensors that may be useful for autonomous vehicles. This was a collaborative effort between CSIRO, Mount Isa Mines and the University of Sydney under the auspices of the CMTE.
These tests concluded that the development of an automation system to surpass the conventional technology was possible.
The Rise of the Robots
In his presentation The Rise of the Robots at the Amira Global ROAR earlier this month, Australian Droid + Robot (ADR) Founder Dr Joe Cronin references Amira’s role in autonomous vehicles.
Dr Cronin said the 1998 project created the world’s first automated LHD, demonstrating that an LHD could navigate autonomously in an underground mine.
“Fifteen years later Northparkes E48, 100 percent of their production was automated. There were zero injuries to operators, the daily production rates has increased and the costs have lowered,” Dr Cronin said.
>>Watch his ROAR presentation here
Project outcomes: history in the making
P517 achieved the following milestones:
- a demonstration for sponsors at the Northparkes mine towards the end of July 1999. The experimental LHD was operated autonomously, demonstrating the essential elements of full-speed operation – a critical proof-of-concept.
- a demonstration at QCAT in December 1999, where most of the remaining features were complete except for operator set-up tools and some fine-tuning of various control features.
A commercial licence agreement was signed with Caterpillar Elphinstone and Automative & Industrial Mining Supplies before the final product was tested at Mount Isa Mines. Work by the research team finished at the end of December 2000.
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