Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

D. C. Reid, J. C. Ralston, M. T. Dunn and C. O. Hargrave, A Major Step Forward in Continuous Miner Automation, 11th Underground Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2011, 165-171.


Progress on a major research and development project undertaken by the CSIRO Mining Technology Group to advance the automation capability of continuous mining equipment in underground coal mining operations is described. The aim is to increase the overall rate of roadway development as well as providing a safer working environment for underground mine personnel. The outcomes achieved at the half-way mark of this ACARP funded three-year research and development project are reported. Details of the technical developments undertaken towards demonstration of a “self-steering” capability to enable a Continuous Miner to automatically maintain a given mining heading and mining horizon under production conditions are provided. Reported outcomes include the means to accurately determine both the location and orientation of a Continuous Miner in real-time using a combination of a navigation-grade inertial navigation unit, Doppler radar and optical flow technologies. Comprehensive performance evaluations have been conducted using a scaled skid-steer mobility platform and results achieved to the present stage of the project indicate that the required automated self-steering functionality is achievable under production conditions. The project outcomes represent an important move towards achieving a step change improvement in underground roadway development practice.