The mining industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. Activity is driven by safety and productivity, and the growing importance of technologies that support the monitoring and management of operations, utilising sensors, communication systems and artificial intelligence. In the last three years alone, there have been over 48,000 patents filed and granted in the mining industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Mining: Remote Tunnel Monitoring Systems. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 350,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the mining industry, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Remote tunnel monitoring systems is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence 

Underground tunnel monitoring systems deploy network of sensors over proprietary communication networks to provide critical information such as the structural and geotechnical behaviour of a tunnel and underground conditions; underground workers and assets, helping to maximise worker safety as well as identify areas for maintenance, if any.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 20 companies, spanning technology vendors, established mining companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of remote tunnel monitoring systems.

Key players in remote tunnel monitoring systems – a disruptive innovation in the mining industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators. 

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to remote tunnel monitoring systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Caterpillar 18 Unlock Company Profile
Sandvik 11 Unlock Company Profile
Strata Products Worldwide 9 Unlock Company Profile
Orica 8 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing LongRuan Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Tian Di Science & Technology 4 Unlock Company Profile
Cniguard 4 Unlock Company Profile
State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council 3 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Forever Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Bucyrus Europe 3 Unlock Company Profile
Shandong Hi-Speed Group 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Oriental Maritime Engineering Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 2 Unlock Company Profile
Jingying Shuzhi Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Construction 2 Unlock Company Profile
Qatar National Bank 2 Unlock Company Profile
Datang Telecom Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
China Energy Investment 2 Unlock Company Profile
Changzhou Lianli Automation Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shaanxi Star Coal Mine Safety Equipment 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Leading companies include Strata Worldwide, whose solutions assist with underground communications, tracking, monitoring, and control. These include two-way voice, text and data communications, personnel and asset tracking, atmospheric condition monitoring and gas detection, and control of fans, belt drives and pumps.

Orica’s underground solutions include SHOTPlus Tunnel, which is a blast design software that, as well as supporting design, also enables the importing of tunnel survey scans to compare post-blast results with designs, and optimise future blasts.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the mining industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Mining.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.