The number of collision avoidance installations at operations around the world is growing daily. Collision avoidance systems are no longer a luxury as mines face higher productivity targets and a lower tolerance for accidents. Countries around the world, including the US, India, and South Africa are in various stages of implementing legislation that will go as far as legally requiring the implementation of collision avoidance in mining.

One of the major limitations in the development of collision avoidance systems has been their reliance on GPS or GNSS technology. Typically, these systems have an accuracy of around 2m to 5m on a given mine surface. This means two vehicles can have a relative position error (RPE) of 4m-10m (contrary to popular belief, these errors add up and do not cancel each other out).

In a standard mining operation, there are a number of collision situations where a vehicle to vehicle error of 4m-10m is completely unacceptable. Examples include truck spotting, two-way/parallel driving, dozer cleaning, and more. Averaging and otherwise filtering in software can hide the extent of this inaccuracy from the operator but it doesn’t solve the issue. In fact, it adds delays and false alarms which decrease the operator’s trust in the system.

Our engineers have been hard at work for over a year trying to eliminate this limitation and build a truly world-class solution with as little RPE as possible. As we announced at MINExpo 2016, they succeeded, and the latest version of our DriveAssist™ collision avoidance solution features up to 2.5cm position accuracy (a RPE of 5cm).

The following graphic shows a comparison between the relative positioning error of a traditional collision avoidance system and DriveAssist. The red paths indicate false alarms even though the two trucks are not on a collision course.

Of course, we also refused to compromise on our commitment to DriveAssist as a low-cost platform that is accessible to operations of all types and sizes. If you’re interested in RIGID ROBOTICS’ solutions, or just a brainstorming session or a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.