Coal Age

SEP 2017

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26 September 2017 collision avoidance continued large, simple icons and distinct colors to indicate the direction, type, and level of warning that is triggered," Dunsch said. The device is designed to clearly present the minimal amount of information required to take proper action. "An operator should not be expected to constantly watch a display; rather, they should only need to briefly glance at a display long enough to gain the right information when they need it," Dunsch said. "In this way, Mod- ular's CAS empowers operators to make the right decisions at the right time, giving them reliable information quickly and simply." CAS is designed to go unnoticed when unneeded. "A display with more information, or laid out in a different way, would likely distract the operator and require them to read and interpret the data before taking preventative action, which inhibits their ability to make a split-second decision when it counts most," Dunsch said. "Our belief is that a display should show the essential information as simply and intuitively as possible so that a driver can glance at it and know what to do quickly." Predictive algorithms minimize false alarms, he said. "Various levels of filtering minimize superfluous alarms," he added. That filtering is one of the major selling points of the system, Dunsch said. "Rather than rely on the same false-alarm-prone technologies that have characteristically plagued adopters, such as bubble-based proximity systems, radar systems and even cam- era-based systems, Modular's CAS uses innovative methodologies to greatly minimize false alarms," Dunsch said. "Intelligent path prediction and scenario-based logic help the system differentiate events that are just a matter of proximity — such as two vehicles passing each other on the same haul route, traveling from oppo- site directions and in different lanes — from those that actually have a high likelihood of collision." This is where DENSO comes in, he said. "Modular's CAS leverages industry-leading, standards-based connected-vehicle technologies from DENSO, which we've tailored and expanded to meet the needs of the mining industry," Dunsch said. "In addition to transmitting vehicle-to-vehicle communications near instant- ly and thereby providing time-critical information as quickly as possible, this technology has already proven reliable through 15 years of research and various deployments in automobiles." Another selling point, Dunsch said, is the system is designed to empower, as opposed to disempower, the operator. "Modular's CAS is designed to increase operators' situational awareness, and to enable them to make the right decision at the right time," he said. "It is not designed to take control away from them or make decisions for them." Miners that have deployed CAS to address specific challenges have reported positive results, Dunsch said. "A large mine in Bra- zil was previously using a radar system as their means of reducing vehicle collisions, but the system was very prone to false alarms," he said. "As a result, operators learned to tune out all alarms, even valid ones, because they discounted every alarm as false." Even though the system did produce valid alarms, the operators lost "all trust" in its functionality, he said. "The site switched to Modu- lar's CAS, and soon realized a dramatic reduction in false alarms, restoring operator trust," Dunsch said. The system is one of a handful that comprise the IntelliMine suite of mine management and efficiency improvement solu- tions. It is one part of a larger strategy to improve safety, Dunsch said. "A number of factors can play a role in a vehicle-to-vehi- cle collision, and it's important that mine sites don't rely solely on technology to keep their people safe," he said. "By address- ing mine safety as a combination of situational awareness, op- erator experience, proper training, being fit for duty, and using safe-working equipment, mines can get closer to becoming a zero-incident workplace." ASI Adapts Collision Warning System Autonomous Solutions Inc. (ASI) offers both a collision warning system and a collision avoidance system. While ASI will work with a company seeking exclusively either of those systems, both were designed to be components of a fully automated mine. Each are described by ASI as stepping stones in a phased, low- risk, cost-effective pathway to automation. "We see the future as being kind of dominated by a push for full-autonomy," Drew Larsen, director of business development, said. "Our big differ- entiation is if a customer has ambitions to go to full autonomy, then we can basically assure that investments made in these early steps don't get wasted. They are actually leveraged toward the journey of getting full autonomy." The first step is adopting the Mobius command and control system, which the company describes as a modular platform. ASI can work with a miner already operating on an established FMS, Larsen said. "It is possible to do an Application Program Interface between our system and a different FMS," he said. "If we did inte- 'Our core value proposition on this product is to alleviate the problem of false alarms,' says Robert Dunsch, product manager, Modular Mining. Above, the display reveals the direction and priority level of a possible event. (Photo: Modular Mining)

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