Congrats to MSL’s Jordan Mitchell for placing 3rd in this year’s poster competition at the 2017 SME Annual Conference & Expo and CMA’s 119th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition last week in Denver, CO! Jordan also recently placed 1st at the 2017 CIM Conference & Exhibition‘s student poster competition in Montreal, QC.
We are now half-way there and so far we have had some really great success. Our achievements are in no small part due to generous and unprecedented access to Atlas Copco’s Kvarntorp underground test mine and use of their fully-equipped and automation-ready ST14 and ST18 LHD machines! We have also made some wonderful new friends and are looking forward to many years of continued work together.
Heshan Fernando is leading the development of automatic tuning algorithms for autonomous loading of fragmented rock (see this CIM Magazine article about our ongoing work on this with Atlas Copco), which is happening in collaboration with Atlas Copco Rock Drills AB and in conjunction with field work at the Kvarntorp underground facility. Heshan is also working Atlas Copco engineers and software developers to create a “load-assist” version of our technology to help operators that use radio-remote controlled LHDs.
ILC+FBL for Fast Autonomous Driving
Lukas Dekker is leading research on a new approach to Iterative learning-based path following for high-accuracy and high-speed autonomous driving of underground mining vehicles. This work is being carried out using Atlas Copco ST14 and ST18 underground loaders and also at the Kvarntorp underground facility.
Collecting strike and dip measurements with a Brunton compass is tedious and time consuming. And, in some cases, can be dangerous if you have to get close to unsupported and/or newly excavated rock. There are other, less developed, ways of doing this by using camera (photogrammetry) or stationary LiDAR measurements, but there can big problems with these methods, including price, accuracy, and the need for significant human input (and error). Hence, these approaches are not widely used.
For several years now, MSL researchers Marc Gallant and Joshua Marshall have been developing a better way; one that is automatic, mobile, accurate (better than a human?!), safe, and extremely fast.
Introducing the Mining Systems Laboratory’s automated geotechnical mapping system. It provides a quick and easy way for geotechnical engineers or geologists to automatically generate rich and complete stereonets that map the joint sets of exposed rock cuts, whether these are on surface, underground, or in hard-to-reach places.
This spring, with the support of PARTEQ Innovations, Marc and Josh decided to give some entrepreneurial Queen’s students (via the QICSI program) the chance to exploit their newly developed intellectual property. Six students took up the challenge and we are happy to report that, after forming the spin-off company RockMass Technologies, they recently won the QICSI pitch competition! Congrats to RockMass Technologies! We look forward to working with you on the future of robotic and automated geotechnical mapping …
Together with co-inventor Joshua Marshall, Mining Systems Laboratory (MSL) technology entrepreneurs Marc Gallant and Jordan Mitchell won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at this year’s NCFRN Ogopogo event. The Ogopogo event is a Dragons’ Den-like event held annually as part of the NSERC’s NCFRN Annual Meeting, this year in Sudbury, Ontario at Laurentian University. Ogopogo refers to the lake monster of Okanagan Lake, where the first event was held in 2015. NCFRN is a national field robotics network, that brings together researchers from across the country to focus on robotics for challenging outdoor applications.
The winning business and technology pitch was given by AxisMapper, a robotic geotechnical tool that is the focus of Marc’s PhD work. Second place went to MapKey, a novel cavity scanning technology that is the focus of Jordan’s Master’s research. AxisMapper took home a $10,000 prize, which will be used to develop a demonstrator unit, as well as some business development and market studies. MapKey took home an $8,000 prize, which will be used to fund prototype development and deployment at an underground facility during the coming year. For more information about these technologies, contact Joshua Marshall.
A shout-out to Ryan Gariepy at Clearpath for a great job as event MC!
Introducing the Mining Systems Laboratory’s automated geotechnical mapping system. It provides a quick and easy way for geotechnical engineers or geologists to automatically generate rich and complete stereonets that map the joint sets of exposed rock cuts, whether these are on surface, underground, or in hard-to-reach places. Our system is lightweight, mobile, fast, and accurate.
M. J. Gallant and J. A. Marshall. Automated rapid mapping of joint orientations with mobile LiDAR. In the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, vol. 90, pp. 1-14, December 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrmms.2016.09.014