Development of an Assistive Shuttle Car Guidance System: Stage 2 Implementation

Underground » Roadway Development

Published: August 20Project Number: C27051

Get ReportAuthor: Jonathon Ralston, Hayden Clarke, Andrew Strange and Craig James | CSIRO

This project explored the development of a new assistive shuttle car guidance system to improve the safety, productivity and sustainability of roadway development operations. It built upon the reference design established in project C26049 Assistive Shuttle Car Stage 1 which outlined the rationale and system requirements.

The challenges associated were understood from the outset of the project:

  • Shuttle cars are principally designed for fully manual operation, and therefore lack the control interfaces required to support the introduction of remote or assistive guidance systems or automation technologies.
  • There are significant constraints on implementation of sensing components - principally survivability in the environment and finding a practical non-intrusive installation location providing a wide field of view.
  • A new solution would be required to simultaneously map the environment, identify the shuttle car position, determine roadway path, and recommend steering and speed controls.
  • Complex logistics are involved in evaluating and demonstrating new technology on production equipment.

The project focussed activity in the following main areas:

  • Evaluation of a 3D digital design approach based on a shuttle car model and 3D roadway scans;
  • Design of a retrofittable sensing and processing module which could be used as portable electrical apparatus for trials in underground environments;
  • Three underground evaluations with a shuttle car in production conditions to demonstrate open loop control, resulting in rapid development of sensing module configurations; and
  • Demonstration of closed-loop steering control based on a scale platform using an analogue underground testing environment based on many in-house system evaluations.

Despite extended efforts, development of the machine control interface necessary to implement closed-loop control of a production shuttle car was not achieved. However, in-house closed loop evaluations were performed which demonstrated the proof-of-concept and highlighted the near-term possibilities.

The project delivered several innovations that have important implications for the accelerated introduction of further assistive and automated technologies for roadway development. Key outcomes include:

  • Development of a novel self-contained, retrofittable multi-sensor module that can be rapidly deployed on shuttle cars as well as opening new opportunities for use on other underground platforms;
  • Generation of real-time shuttle car odometry and position sensing that does not require any additional environmental infrastructure or shuttle car-based position encoders - a first for shuttle cars;
  • Use of state-of-the-art real-time sensing and mapping software on a production shuttle car;
  • Identification of an open systems protocol for universal steering and velocity commands to promote greater levels of interoperability and automation in roadway development and other underground mobile vehicle applications; and
  • Assessment of the imaging performance when the laser device was evaluated through transparent windows from existing approved enclosures.

The report concludes with practical recommendations which should be pursued to further advance the development and maturity of the assistive guidance system for shuttle cars.


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