Tag Archives: autonomous equipment

GMG expands AI and automation focus with new projects

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has launched new projects in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomous equipment to ensure mining companies can best leverage these technologies.

The ‘Open Data sets for AI in Mining’ project will be used for building open data sets to advance AI research and development, while the ‘Autonomous System Safety’ sub-project (under the Functional Safety for Autonomous Equipment project) looks to deliver valuable context and education on system safety, GMG said.

As GMG states: “Open and curated data sets can enhance the ability to build meaningful solutions for the industry by providing typical data relating to assets or operations for training and testing models and improving benchmarking and research by offering an alternative to proprietary data.”

The open data sets project will seek to leverage what the wider AI community has learned over time and ensure the approaches used in the mining domain are consistent with best practices, it added.

In terms of deliverables, the GMG is hoping for three core outcomes. Namely, a register of suitable candidate data sets, a set of guidelines for the collection and curation of these data sets and a set of repositories of gathered data.

“AI research and progress in many spheres has benefited hugely from having a set of public and curated datasets,” GMG said. “This has allowed for developers and researchers to have suitable data to test and train their models on for a variety of applications. Even more importantly, it has provided data which can be used to benchmark various solutions and allow for effective and fair comparison, as well as allowing for research to be repeated and validated.”

The ‘Autonomous Safety System’ sub-project, meanwhile, covers overall system safety. It will be a white paper to “provide valuable context and education on system safety, its history in other industries and how to deliver safe systems that can be operated effectively”, according to GMG.

The GMG said: “An outlook that expands the focus from functional safety to system safety will enable improved outcomes to the delivery of autonomous mining systems because:

  • To ensure functional safety, autonomous systems need to perform their functions correctly;
  • A technological system and its design within the operating environment can influence human performance;
  • Delivering and benefiting from complicated and complex systems requires addressing the behaviour of their interactions;
  • Cybersecurity risks affect all aspects of autonomous system safety; and
  • A full picture of system safety is needed to achieve a balance of operations, reliability and other associated disciplines.

New technology can help cut mine fatalities, VIST Robotics CTO says

Anton Potapov, Chief Technology Officer at VIST Robotics, thinks technology has a key role to play in reducing the number of fatalities experienced in the mining industry.

Potapov said some 77% of all mining accidents resulting in a fatality are tied to human interaction with equipment. With more than 2,500 deaths in 2018 alone, according to the International Mining Fatality Review, that is a lot of avoidable fatalities.

“The design of fit for purpose equipment is a very important aspect to be analysed and focusing on this area is an important way to reduce fatalities,” he said.

“Now we have technology that allows us to reduce human involvement in a dangerous process. Artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things and robotisation, combined, could turn into what is to be called the ‘intelligent mine’,” he said.

VIST Group, a subsidiary of Zyfra Group after a recent $30 million takeover, has some experience in applying this technology. It is a leader in the field of development and implementation of IT and AI in the mining and metallurgical industries, and is involved in the automation of industrial vehicles.

“In end-to-end smart mining, you remove all personnel from autonomous operating zone and leave robots to themselves. If you need a person or vehicle in there, you equip them with trackers and every autonomous truck watches them carefully.”

This could lead to fatalities dropping to zero, he said.

“Moreover, the economic and ecological impact are respectively positive: as the use of self-driving vehicles and smart machines allows to reduce costs, it also allows to cut emissions,” he said.

He concluded: “The industrial sector is conservative but, as the benefit is obvious, it is not only about the industry but about the society as we shall support any innovation that can help us to save lives and the environment.”