Open Cut

Shovel Automation - Phase 2: Autonomous Excavation and Truck Loading for Mining Shovels

Open Cut » Overburden Removal

Published: July 06Project Number: C14058

Get ReportAuthor: Matthew Dunbabin, Kane Usher | CSIRO ICT Centre

In this project, we have progressed the results from ACARP project C12030 through addressing the second phase of the mining rope-shovel automation roadmap by successfully demonstrating complete automatic cycles on a 1/7 scale-model rope shovel. The primary achievements include the ability to automatically perform multiple passes for complete truck loading which include

  • Excavation of the dig face,
  • Swinging with obstacle avoidance,
  • Identifying an awaiting truck tray,
  • Determining an optimal loading strategy, and
  • Dumping the material.

This report outlines the systems developed and presents experimental results on performance of the automated excavation and loading systems. The performance of the system was compared against productivity measurements from two operational machines. Results show that the system is capable of producing complete pass times that are equivalent to and potentially better than current manually operated machine performance. The systems developed improve two key areas of rope-shovel operations:

1. Damage control

  • Collision avoidance (including machine tracks)
  • Auto digging stall mitigation

2. Productivity

  • Robust tray position and orientation estimation
  • An optimised loading strategy for multi-pass fills
  • Online volume estimation

These technologies have been consolidated into four modules which are believed applicable to both electric rope-shovels as well as hydraulic shovels. The modules can be integrated to form the fully automated Shovel Automation System (SAS), or individually as operator assist technologies. Based on the encouraging results of this project, it would be appropriate to consider the next phase in the shovel automation roadmap to demonstrate and evaluate the technology on a full-scale electric rope shovel.


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