Code created for autonomous mining
■ 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.