Big step underground

2021 Mar 24

With Minetruck Automation, Epiroc makes big advances in underground mining. Software Developer Torkel Trampe provides insight into how the development team went about their work.

What is the Minetruck Automation solution?
?Basically, it?s software that allows the automation of mine trucks. Each machine is fitted with two lasers, one in front and one in back, that measure the surroundings. There is also an odometer to measure the driving distance, as well as an IMU, inertial measurement unit, that measures accelerations and turning speeds ? so we can see how the machine moves. All communication takes place via WiFi.?

Torkel Trampe, Software Developer Epiroc

What is the biggest customer benefit?
?Minetruck Automation improves both safety and productivity. The machine can be used in environments that may not be fully secure for manual operation. Because the machine can be operated remotely, customers can also cut down on a lot of work hours, since the operator doesn?t have to travel to and from the site where the machine is located. Minetruck MT42 is the first truck to be automated, and other models will follow.?

What challenges did you come across in the development phase?
?Many customers will want to operate the truck both manually and automatically and so we wanted to make that possible. For the manual control module, we partnered with an external supplier and then put a lot of work into integrating the two systems. There are lots of safety requirements that have to be met, and it is critical that the mine truck is as flexible and user-friendly as it is safe.?


Minetruck Automation in brief

  • Control of Minetruck operation via WiFi from any remote location
  • Manual, teleremote and autonomous driving
  • Common operator station as for Scooptram loaders
  • Possible to operate several Minetruck and/or Scooptram vehicles from one operator station.

Epiroc operated under the trademark “Atlas Copco” prior to January 1, 2018.