Vehicle Interaction /

Background

Industry Vehicle Interaction Experience

A significant mining industry fatality challenge is to systematically and reliably improve controls for managing mobile equipment operation and people and materials transport. 

Each year, between 30-40% of industry deaths are attributable to failures of vehicle interaction controls and of these about half involve pedestrians, mostly in underground operations. 

The EMESRT Facilitation Role 2013 – 2020

Based on Design Philosophy 5 (DP-5) – Machine Operation and Control, EMESRT initiated an industry project in 2013 to improve vehicle interaction controls. The drivers for this work was the rapid development and marketing of Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS). 

The first step was to define the problems that the project would address and to illustrate these using operational scenarios. The next step was to build a set of performance requirements for evaluating commercial Proximity Detection System (PDS) technologies. 

After two years, the project focus on awareness, advisory and intervention technologies was expanded to include mine design and operational controls. This was driven by a systems level understanding that vehicle interaction controls are multi-level, interconnected, dynamic and that many are dependent on the decisions and actions of people. 

The EMESRT facilitative approach has created an industry level project community made up of 150+ individuals representing Mining companies, OEM’s, Third party PDS providers and other stakeholders. This group has developed an interoperability protocol between third-party PDS providers and equipment supplied by OEM’s to establish a platform for the implementation of PDS controls in mixed equipment fleets – Refer ISO 21815. They also assisted with the design and content of ACARP Project C26028 to confirm a methodology for validating proximity detection technology, an international project with Australian and South African researchers. 

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was identified in 2017 as a key stakeholder and EMESRT actively engaged with them in the formation of the Innovation for Cleaner, Safety Vehicles (ICSV) programme. The ICSV VI ambition statement is, “The programme aims to promote collision avoidance technology capable of eliminating fatalities from vehicle interactions so that it is available to mining companies by 2025.” The ICSV initiative is focused at the higher level engagement in enabling broad change.  EMESRT has a complementary technical level focus.

Making an industry project business case

The industry business case for EMESRT to facilitate a project to improve Vehicle Interaction Controls was established in 2013. The project drivers pivoted on new technology costs, complexity and uncertainty of outcomes, the rapid development of options and technology interoperability concerns. 

Since then, EMESRT has influenced, coordinated, supported, and guided project activities at an industry level. Core to this work has been engaging with ICMM to leverage their peak industry association status and directly contribute to the “Initiative for Cleaner Safer Vehicles.” 

Contributors from EMESRT member companies have applied engineering approaches and logic to develop resources that include comprehensive and adaptable project plans, tools and processes that consider human factors and prepare operations for successful technology implementations. 

This wide range of information and experience is now being curated and has been made available for industry use in Knowledge Hubs.

Extensive research and development of new technology react controls that alert and alarm operators (Level 8) and intervene independently of the operator (Level 9) has been undertaken over the last decade. While these react control developments are progressing, there are few examples of successful operational deployments.  

EMESRT member company and industry experience is that scoping, implementing, integrating and maintaining collision avoidance systems is complex because: 

  • During operations there is an ongoing dynamic interdependence between design, operate and react controls (reference EMESRT Level 1-9 Model) 
  • The successful implementation and integration of react controls requires a comprehensive baseline understanding of design and operate controls
  • Success requires precisely understanding what technology does and does not do, taking a project approach
  • The potential for error due to the lack of human factors considerations in design
  • Proximity Detection System (PDS) technologies on the market are best evaluated using functional performance requirements based on interaction scenarios and unwanted event categories
  • There are already legislative requirements for the introduction of new technology intervention controls in some jurisdictions 

Project progress

Project work continued throughout 2020 and has delivered these milestones: 

  • Further development and application of the EMESRT VI Control Baseline Assessment approach in member companies
  • Development and launch of the VI Knowledge Hub providing the industry with a curated collection of case studies, reference information, links to relevant websites and other useful resources 
  • Developed a Project Work Breakdown Structure for initiating and executing a Vehicle Interaction Improvement project for operating sites (key Knowledge Hub content)
  • Supporting the completion of the ACARP Proximity Detection System Validation Framework Project C26028 that includes alignment and collaboration with the University of Pretoria PDS testing work
  • Supporting the ACARP Intelligent Camera Systems in Project 33007 to assess its application in VI
  • Ongoing EMESRT support for the ICMM ICSV VI programme including presenting at and attending virtual workshops

The EMESRT vehicle interaction community is supported by monthly meetings and as required face-to-face workshops, although during 2020 this was impossible due to COVID-19. Currently the community extends to over 150+ individuals representing 50 multiple organisations from mining companies, researchers, OEM’s, third-party equipment suppliers, e.g., PDS and other interested parties.

Next steps

  • Broader industry communication of the VI improvement strategy materials and guidance
  • With ICMM, deliver regular topic specific webinars that support vehicle interaction control improvement projects at operating sites
  • Publish the Vehicle Interaction Control Framework and the associated baseline assessment process including the Self-Assessment Review Guideline (SARG)
  • Providing support and resources that enable capacity building for industry project delivery