“Self-driving vehicles are important in the mining industry for several reasons,” says Mattias Wahde, professor in vehicle engineering and autonomous systems at Chalmers. “One important reason is that you want to minimize the risk of personal injuries by having as few people as possible in the mine. With self-driving vehicles, staff can control and monitor machinery and equipment from a control room.”
Self-driving vehicles can also increase the efficiency, for example through minimized waiting times for the various vehicles in the mine. To this end, Mattias Wahde and his research group will develop algorithms for route planning and coordination, both in the mine and for transport from the mine.
A safe and fully automated transport system
The purpose of the project is to build a safe and efficient fully automated transport system, able to navigate in narrow spaces such as mines, but also on public roads. The material from the mine can thus be transported without a driver in the vehicle, all the way from the mining area to the enrichment plant. The system should be able to work both with and without support from various infrastructure systems such as GPS, WiFi and 4G.
Two self-driving vehicles with high traffic safety
Two different transport systems of self-driving trucks will be developed in the project. Both will provide high traffic safety as well as optimized use of the vehicles for mining. The existing infrastructure of the mining area will to a certain extent be adapted to the vehicles.
One of the two vehicles will transport ore from the mine to the surface. The ore will then be transported from the transshipment site at the mine to the enrichment facility by the second vehicle, a self-driving truck with trailer. The transports will be monitored via a traffic management system.
FACTS: Auto pilot site to plant
The project Auto pilot site to plant is running until March 2019. It is funded by Vinnova and led by AB Volvo. Chalmers, AB Volvo, Combitech and Boliden participate in the project.
Text: Malin Persson, Emilia Lundgren
Photo: Emilia Lundgren