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Automation boss declares wireless trial is a success

Venetia mine truck
Mine truck

Employers recently experimented with a new form of networked autonomous technology.

Sandvik Mining and Rajant Corporation successfully trialled wireless automation at US$2 billion ($A3B) De Beers Group’s Venetia mine, 441km north of Pretoria.

The Kinetic Mesh network uses a live video stream to safely control different driverless vehicles at the underground operation. This allows for sub-level caving extraction work to be performed without a human operator nearby.

“Testing and validating with Sandvik demonstrated the ability to maintain the network connections required, not only to ensure safe operations but to be able to stream live video from the machines as they operate autonomously,” Sandvik underground automation product line manager Jouni Koppanen said in a public statement.

The technology detects “BreadCrumb” network nodes, which are mounted to fixed points across the mine and on every vehicle. This lets operators remotely access vehicle cameras and control safety systems. This gives controlling systems 100 per cent connection to onboard systems.

“BreadCrumbs communicate with all other radios, creating a unique, high-capacity, dense mesh network of connected assets – operating the advanced software systems,” Rajant sales vice president Chris Mason said.

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