About this project
A significant portion of underground mining operations is related to tunneling, that is, drilling and blasting rock to excavate tunnels that lead to sources of ore. Drilling is carried out by drill rigs equipped with multiple robotic arms. A key factor affecting the efficiency of tunneling is the time to completion of drilling operations. In current industrial practice, these operations are carried out manually by an operator steering the arms on the drill rig. Time to completion can be drastically reduced if the arms could operate concurrently, intelligently optimizing and coordinating their motions. This project will develop motion planning, coordination and control algorithms which will effectively render the processes of planning and of executing multi-arm motions fully autonomous. The project will build on an existing framework for integrated multi-robot motion planning, coordination and control (developed by academic partner ORU), extending it to the case of multiple, jointed robots operating in a 3D environment. The project will result in a TRL increase of this framework from level 5 to level 7. Project results will be demonstrated on a Boomer platform (a product of industrial partner Epiroc) in a zinc mine (operated by partner ZinkgruvanMining). The framework for integrated multi-robot motion planning and control resulting from the project will be applicable to other use cases, in and beyond the mining sector; partner Alfred Nobel Science Park will support in the investigation of such further business opportunities.