Autonomous Loading of Fragmented Rock

Robotic excavation machines are of interest in mining and construction, where the aim is remove operators from hazardous environments, improve machine utilization, productivity, and task repeatability, and to reduce maintenance costs.  However, what makes robotic excavation challenging is the nature of the bucket-rock interactions.  For example, the resistance faced by a bucket as it attempts to penetrate a rock pile may vary significantly depending upon the properties of the media (e.g., density and hardness), the rock pile geometry, and the distribution of particle sizes and shapes. Indeed, it would be very difficult to predetermine the exact nature of future bucket-rock interactions prior to the execution of any particular excavation operation.

Our focus is on excavation in fragmented rock, as is common in mining and construction, using a load-haul-dump (LHD) excavation machine.  We have devised an admittance-based excavation control strategy that, in extensive field trials, has proven to be an effective approach to autonomous excavation.

Related Documents

A. A. Dobson, J. A. Marshall, and J. Larsson.  Admittance control for robotic loading: Design and experiments with a 1-tonne loader and a 14-tonne load-haul-dump machine.  Invited paper in the special issue on Field and Service Robotics of the Journal of Field Robotics (accepted March 31, 2016).  DOI: 10.1002/rob.21654

A. A. Dobson, J. A. Marshall, and J. Larsson.  Admittance control for robotic loading: Underground field trials with an LHD.  In Proceedings of the 10th Conference on Field and Service Robotics (FSR 2015), Toronto, ON, June 2015.  Conference best paper award! DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-27702-8_32

J. A. Marshall, P. F. Murphy, and L. K. Daneshmend. Toward autonomous excavation: Full-scale experiments.  IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 562-566, July 2008.

Media Coverage

A. Lopez-Pacheco, Fully loaded: Atlas Copco feels its way into autonomous loading for LHDsCIM Magazine, December 2016-January 2017.

A. Craig, Researchers rock out with robots, Queen’s Gazette, May 12, 2015.


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Commercial Opportunities

For commercial inquiries, please contact:

Mr. Jörgen Appelgren
VP (Rocktec Automation)
Atlas Copco Rock Drills AB
SE-701 91 Örebro, Sweden
+46 19-670 73 26