The Mining Automation team at QCAT has been developing high-technology systems to assist dragline operators and mine planners since 1994. We have demonstrated our cruise control and Digital Terrain Mapping (DTM) technologies in operation on a scale model dragline in Brisbane, allowing the machine to be operated by a team member in the USA.
This work began with a number of ACARP sponsored projects to demonstrate a proof-of-concept dragline swing cruise-control system on Tarong Coal’s BE1370 – a system to assist the dragline operators to perform consistently and reduce the strain and stresses on the dragline’s boom. The project was successful and a second proof-of-concept demonstrator was trialled at Anglo’s Boundary Hill pit in central Queensland.
This trial showed significant promise but revealed that to fulfil its potential such a system requires up-to-date spatial knowledge of its surroundings. ACARP sponsored two projects to demonstrate so-called Digital Terrain Mapping (DTM) on the Boundary Hill machine. Again, these projects were successful and the two technologies (cruise control and DTM) were shown in operation on a scale model dragline in Brisbane. This demonstration showed the power of the system as the dragline was operated by a member of the team in the USA – truly remote operation.
- 1996 ACARP Tech Report C3007 – Dragline Automation
- 1997 ACARP Tech Report C4002- Dragline Training Simulator
- 1999 ACARP Tech Report C5003- Dragline Automation Implementation
- 2002 ACARP Tech Report C10039- Automated Digital Terrain Mapping for Draglines
- 2005 ACARP Tech Report C13040 – Refinement of Automated Dragline Swing Control Algorithms
- 2006 ACARP Tech Report C13034 – Dragline Operational Enhancements through the use of Digital Terrain Maps
- IEEE Journal Article – Dragline automation – a decade of development: shared autonomy for improving mining equipment productivity
- AAAI Spring Symposium – Off-world Robotic Excavation for Large-scale Habitat Construction and Resource Extraction
- US 8358810 Digital terrain mapping with GPS and laser system
- Dragline Swing Assist
- Dragline on the Moon – NASA
- Dragline in the Moon – Channel 7
- Autonomous Dragline – Scale Model
The terrain mapping technology was licensed to LC Engineering, who then partnered with MineWare Pegasus