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Unmanned operation of load-haul-dump vehicles in mining environments
Örebro University, School of Science and Technology. (Centrum för tillämpade autonoma sensorsystem (AASS))
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Underground mines typically do not represent the best working conditions for humans, and many mining companies have the intent to remove all humans from the ore extraction areas. To achieve this goal automation of the mining machinery is required. One of the riskier jobs in a mine is to operate the Load-Haul-Dump (LHD) vehicles that are used to transport the ore from the blast site to a truck, lorry or directly to a crusher. Today these vehicles are typically controlled by an on-board manual operator. The purpose of the work presented in this thesis is to develop and evaluate algorithms and methods to enable high productivity unmanned operation of LHDs, including two different operating modes.

The first mode is fully autonomous navigation, applicable to static environments, where the LHDs are repeatedly driven along the same paths for extended periods. Here, an existing framework for reactive navigation based on fuzzy logic has been extended with novel feature detection algorithms for tunnel following and topological localisation based on 2D laser range scanner data. These algorithms have been verified in quantitative tests to be fast, reliable and tolerant to noise in the sensor data. Moreover, the whole navigation system has been evaluated in qualitative tests in indoor environments using an ordinary research robot. The autonomous navigation system for LHDs currently commercialized by Atlas Copco is partly based on the experiences gained from the work presented here.

The second mode explored is semi-autonomous operation, where local-autonomy functionality on-board the machine assists a tele-remote operator in driving the vehicle along a collision-free path. This mode is intended for mines where the driving path of the machine changes frequently, so the setup needed for a fully autonomous system becomes impractical. In this part of the work a user study in a real mine has been performed, showing that local autonomy has the potential to significantly improve the productivity of a tele-remote operated LHD. Based on these results, a commercial tele-operating system for underground mines has been extended with a novel local autonomy functionality, inspired by existing autonomous navigation systems. The performance of this system has been verified in experiments performed on a real 38 tonnes LHD in a test mine, and in simulations aimed to show that the system works in arbitrary underground mine environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2011. , 51 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Technology, ISSN 1650-8580 ; 51
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-22264OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-22264DiVA: diva2:512493
Public defence
2011-12-14, Hörsal T, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
Prof. Alessandro Saffiotti is a member of Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems (AASS) , Örebro UniversityAvailable from: 2012-03-28 Created: 2012-03-28 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A navigation system for automated loaders in underground mines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A navigation system for automated loaders in underground mines
2006 (Swedish)In: Field and Service Robotics: results of the 5th international conference / [ed] Peter Corke, Salah Sukkariah, Berlin: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2006, 129-140 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For underground mining operations human operated LHD vehicles are typically used for transporting ore. Because of security issues and of the cost of human operators, alternative solutions such as tele-operated vehicles are often in use. Tele-operation, however, leads to reduced efficiency, and it is not an ideal solution. Full automation of the LHD vehicles is a challenging task, which is expected to result in increased operational efficiency, cost efficiency, and safety. In this paper, we present our approach to a fully automated solution currently under development. We use a fuzzy behavior-based approach for navigation, and develop a cheap and robust localization technique based on the deployment of inexpensive passive radio frequency identification (RFID) tags at key points in the mine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2006
Series
Springer tracts in advanced robotics, ISSN 1610-7438 ; 25
Keyword
Mining vehicles, fuzzy logic, hybrid maps, behavior-based navigation, autonomous robots, RFID
National Category
Computer and Information Science Robotics
Research subject
Computer and Systems Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3603 (URN)10.1007/978-3-540-33453-8 (DOI)978-3-540-33453-8 (ISBN)
Conference
5th international conference on Field and service robotics (FSR), July 29 - 31, 2005. Port Douglas, Australia
Available from: 2007-07-22 Created: 2007-07-22 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
2. Laser-based corridor detection for reactive navigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Laser-based corridor detection for reactive navigation
2008 (English)In: Industrial robot, ISSN 0143-991X, Vol. 35, no 1, 69-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For mobile robots operating in real-world environments, reactive navigation is a useful complement (or even replacement) to pure plan-based metric navigation. Reactive navigation is performed with respect to local perceived features, rather than a global metric reference frame, and can provide reduced installation costs, increased flexibility, and robustness to changes in the environment. To be effective, however, reactive navigation requires fast and reliable perception of the relevant features in the environment. Corridor-like structures are one of the most common features that are used for this purpose. In this paper, we propose a new method for corridor detection from laser data, based on the Hough transform, which is fast, reliable, and noise tolerant. We describe the algorithm, report an extensive experimental evaluation of its performance, and motivate the research with a real application involving the autonomous operation of a loader vehicle in an underground mine.

Keyword
Mines, Automation, Navigation, Tunnelling
National Category
Computer Science Engineering and Technology Computer and Information Science Robotics
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7069 (URN)10.1108/01439910810843306 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-06-03 Created: 2009-06-03 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
3. Laser based intersection detection for reactive navigation in an underground mine
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Laser based intersection detection for reactive navigation in an underground mine
2008 (English)In: IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, 2008, IROS 2008, 2008, 2222-2227 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we propose a new feature detection algorithm to enable junction recognition intended for high speed reactive navigation in tunnel like environments. We also present an extensive experimental evaluation of the algorithm based on data recorded in a real mine. The algorithm is faster and has less environmental constraints than similar algorithms that can be found in the litterature.

National Category
Computer Science Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7137 (URN)10.1109/IROS.2008.4650911 (DOI)978-1-4244-2057-5 (ISBN)
Conference
IEEE/RSJ international conference on intelligent robots and systems, IROS 2008, Nice, France
Available from: 2009-06-04 Created: 2009-06-04 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
4. Flexible infrastructure free navigation for vehicles in underground mines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexible infrastructure free navigation for vehicles in underground mines
2008 (English)In: 4th international IEEE conference intelligent systems, IS '08, New York: IEEE , 2008, 2-45-2-50 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

During the last decade, mining companies and mobile equipment manufacturers have pursued improved efficiency, productivity, and safety in underground mining operations by automating some of the functions of underground vehicles. The work presented in this paper is the result of an effort to develop new flexible infrastructureless guidance system for autonomous tramming of center-articulated underground mining vehicles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: IEEE, 2008
National Category
Computer Science Engineering and Technology Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7119 (URN)10.1109/IS.2008.4670406 (DOI)978-1-4244-1739-1 (ISBN)
Conference
4th international IEEE conference intelligent systems, IS '08, 6-8 Sept. 2008, Varna, Bulgaria
Available from: 2009-06-04 Created: 2009-06-04 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
5. Autonomous underground tramming for center-articulated vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Autonomous underground tramming for center-articulated vehicles
2008 (English)In: Journal of Field Robotics, ISSN 1556-4959, Vol. 25, no 6-7, 400-421 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the design, implementation, and field testing of an infrastructureless system for autonomous tramming (or hauling) of a center-articulated underground mining vehicle. Such vehicles are ubiquitous in underground mining, and effective automation of their tramming function has been a sought-after technology for more than a decade. This paper reports on the successful development of a fast, reliable, and robust “autotramming” technology that does not require the installation of fixed infrastructure. Included are descriptions of the chosen control architecture, map-based localization technique, and the results of integration and field testing.

National Category
Computer Science Engineering and Technology Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-7098 (URN)10.1002/rob.20242 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-06-03 Created: 2009-06-03 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
6. An evaluation of local autonomy applied to teleoperated vehicles in underground mines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An evaluation of local autonomy applied to teleoperated vehicles in underground mines
2010 (English)In: 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE conference proceedings, 2010, 1745-1752 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Autonomous vehicles are being increasingly introduced in the mining industry. While these may offer high safety and high productivity, fully autonomous solutions are not always applicable or economically viable. Teleoperation is an attractive option, since it increases safety and comfort of the drivers. Unfortunately, the difficulty to operate the vehicle remotely often results in reduced productivity. In this paper, we show that techniques from the field of mobile robotics can be used to mitigate this problem. We extend a commercial teleoperation system for use in underground mines with a local autonomy functionality, with the main purpose to evaluate if the achieved productivity improvement motivates development of general algorithms and a fully commercial implementation. We then describe a user study performed in an underground mine with a 38 tonne articulated wheel loader, which proves that local autonomy gives a significant improvement in productivity of the teleoperation system, while retaining or even reducing the maintenance costs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE conference proceedings, 2010
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-13994 (URN)10.1109/ROBOT.2010.5509276 (DOI)000284150001009 ()978-1-4244-5038-1 (ISBN)
Conference
2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)
Available from: 2011-01-17 Created: 2011-01-17 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved
7. Local autonomy for tele-operated vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Local autonomy for tele-operated vehicles
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-20762 (URN)
Available from: 2012-01-09 Created: 2012-01-09 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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