Dozer ‘sixth sense’ key to safe, effective work

Advanced technology giving bulldozers the “sixth sense” they need to replicate human operator behaviour has the machines ready to perform their vital ancillary role in the digital mine of the future. “It’s not enough to replicate the five senses. We also need to add the sixth sense, which is the intuition and awareness and the human factor,” says Auto-mate vice-president of product strategy, Elad Abbo.

According to Abbo, operator awareness of changing surface conditions during operation, and instantaneous response to change, is critical to efficient use of the bulky machines which perform a range of production and supplementary tasks at mines.

The tasks are often hazardous and repetitive, hence remote and tele-remote control of dozers have been introduced and proven effective at many sites around the world in the past two decades. Autonomous operation brings new levels of safety and cost-effectiveness.

In line with the industry’s move to automate primary and ancillary mobile fleets, and build holistic digital operating networks around fixed and mobile assets, and orebody intelligence, Auto-mate is working with mine operators to seamlessly integrate various autonomous vehicles into their project and operating plans.

The company’s proprietary technology platform incorporating cameras, LiDAR, radar, ultrasonic and inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors, combined with AI-assisted analytics to enable real-time “decision making”, presents a solution for overcoming the terrain, condition, visibility and dynamic challenges dozer operators face.

“We believe the ability to automate all of the machines and enable seamless communication of information across the operating asset base is essential to achieving the industry’s digital mine vision,” Abbo says.

“Interoperability is obviously a key to that.

“Our focus is on making that vision accessible and affordable to all mining operations.”

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