Sometimes, even experienced drivers in a mine forget to inform others of their position via radio communication while driving.
The result can be anything from an unnecessary slowdown in traffic flow to traffic congestions or even an accident.
Traditional and expensive solutions
Traffic congestion is one of the biggest time thieves in modern underground mines. Even if there are bays where one can park and let another vehicle pass, it is difficult to know if there is anyone coming their way.
And if someone doesn’t know about an oncoming machine or vehicle, the parking spot they plan to use may already be occupied.
Simply put, using the radio to avoid traffic congestion is not a perfect solution. A traditional approach is to create an advanced traffic management solution whereby traffic lights control the traffic, but solutions like this are often expensive to build and deploy.
Mobilaris Onboard: True traffic awareness
Mobilaris Mining and Civil Engineering’s latest product is called Mobilaris Onboard and uses a patent pending positioning technology to mitigate these problems.
The system runs on an ordinary android tablet mounted inside a vehicle, enabling a virtual radar system that warns about any vehicles coming their way.
Mobilaris Onboard is made to keep track of all assets in the mine and collect information about who is moving and in what direction.
The system offers a positioning with an accuracy of five to 10 metres and issues an early warning before potential traffic situations.
The feature is called Traffic Awareness and is developed to solve traffic congestion issues without any additional infrastructure for high-precision positioning or traffic management solutions.
The theory is, if two vehicles meet and both drivers see each other, they will directly know who has the right of way.
Raising efficiency and safety
Investigations have shown that traffic slowdown on ramps and in other areas with dense traffic is the primary reason for time wasted that impairs productivity.
A recent study at a Canadian mine shows that a truck round-trip from stope to rock breaker averages 20 minutes, can be as short as 10 minutes and as long as 50 minutes.
The large variation in ramp time can be attributed in part to congestion on the ramp and/or rock breaker. Reducing the longest round-trip from 50 minutes to 35 minutes (but not changing the average), could add an extra three to four trips per shift.
This could be facilitated with Mobilaris Onboard and keep ramps and haulage ways clear for priority truck traffic. Queuing time at the rock breaker could also be reduced, since truck travel time becomes more repeatable.
In addition to the productivity gains that Traffic Awareness enables, there is also certain safety advantages being noticed.
Traffic Awareness is not the same thing as a Collision Awareness system (CAS). Instead, it gives drivers the needed awareness and an early warning that something is coming their way.
It does not replace CAS or Proximity Detection Systems (PDS) but works instead as an important complementary long-range system.
The Traffic Awareness feature of Mobilaris Onboard is developed as a high-precision key function to increase the flow of traffic in underground mines without having to invest in a costly tracking solution.
Mobilaris Onboard at IMARC
During the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia, October 29-31, Mobilaris will hold an exclusive event on October 28 – True digitalisation of underground mining.
During the event, Mobilaris will give an in-depth presentation of its latest solution for mining digitalisation and productivity, Mobilaris Onboard.
Find more information about Mobilaris Onboard here.