Joint project ARTUSCopyright: © GHH Fahrzeuge GmbH
Dynamic vehicle control of articulated mining vehicles based on robust navigation approaches
- 01.09.2019 to 28.02.2022
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In the future, the European minerals industry will change from open-pit mining to underground mining for reasons of resource and environmental protection. In order to reduce the cost-efficiency threshold, mixed operation, i.e. underground and open-pit mining in hybrid form, is a mode of operation without inhibiting large-scale investments. To increase productivity, reliability and safety in a hybrid mining process, autonomous transport units are to be developed and implemented. Autonomous operation is expected to reduce the accident rate and increase economic efficiency. The ARTUS project (Autonomes robustes Transportsystem für hybride umweltschonende Rohstoffgewinnung auf Basis knickgelenkter Sonderfahrzeuge) thus contributes to better working times, increased efficiency and a longer service life of mining machines.
Project Goals and Methods
The aim of the project is to develop an autonomous, networked fleet of dump trucks for hybrid mines. The Institute of Automatic Control, called IRT is responsible for the dynamic vehicle control of the articulated mining vehicles, as well as the highly accurate and robust localization above ground, including seamless transition to underground operation. For this purpose, intelligent fusion algorithms are used to combine vehicle sensor data with satellite signals. With the help of integrity evaluation algorithms, disturbed satellite signals are detected and excluded from further calculations. Integrity assessment is a central component of localization and of superior importance in mines. Deep mines cause partial shadowing, which means that only a limited number of satellites can be received. A central management unit uses non-linear optimization to determine safe and efficient trajectories for all dump trucks. At the vehicle level, robust, fault-tolerant controllers keep the vehicles on the specified trajectories. For this purpose, interfaces to the vehicle control are implemented in real mining vehicles so that autonomous operation of the vehicles is possible. In addition, the vehicle environment is extensively monitored in order to avoid collisions with obstacles. Obstacles and edges are identified with LiDAR and radar and fed into the trajectory optimization. The approaches are implemented and tested in a real mining environment.
Innovations and Perspectives
Developing robust and secure localisation for vehicle automation in mines is a challenge. The difficulty lies in the structure of a mine and the permanently limited reception of satellite signals. Another technical challenge of the project is to seamlessly switch between surface and underground localisation. In addition, changing road conditions, such as loose ground, the constantly changing mining environment, highly variable load conditions and, in particular, the kinematics of the articulated vehicles, place high demands on the vehicle control system, which has to guide the vehicle safely at different speeds.
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