Code cre­ated for au­ton­o­mous min­ing

Pilbara News - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

■ A world-first code of prac­tice has been de­vel­oped for au­ton­o­mous min­ing in WA — although the in­put from global ex­perts made no men­tion of Isaac Asimov’s three laws of ro­bot­ics.

Mines and Petroleum Min­is­ter Bill Marmion re­leased the code for au­ton­o­mous min­ing, which in­cludes ro­botic min­ing and ex­plo­ration, last week.

“With WA al­ready at the fore­front of au­ton­o­mous and ro­botic min­ing and ex­plo­ration, it makes sense we also take the lead in the safe im­ple­men­ta­tion of these tech­nolo­gies,” he said.

“This code has been 18 months in the mak­ing.”

The code aims to help com­pa­nies man­age and set up au­ton­o­mous min­ing sys­tems.

It is still early days for au­to­ma­tion, it seems, as last month a manned wa­ter cart hit an au­ton­o­mous truck on a Pil­bara mine site dur­ing a night shift.

A Depart­ment of Mines and Petroleum re­port said the au­ton­o­mous truck was as­signed to do a loop at an in­ter­sec­tion that had not been phys­i­cally sign­posted as an area where this hap­pened.

The wa­ter cart driver was com­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion and was not aware of the as­signed path of the au­ton­o­mous truck when they col­lided.

Mr Marmion said the code would com­ple­ment the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of au­ton­o­mous min­ing sys­tems in WA, pro­mot­ing in­creased diver­si­fi­ca­tion of the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

“This sort of ex­per­tise also helps build our tech ex­port base, with the State al­ready pro­duc­ing well over half of the world’s min­ing soft­ware,” he said.

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