Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

Enabling Mine Automation through the Application of Neptec’s OPAL and 3DRi Technology

E. Trickey, D.J. Lucifora, P. Wan, A. Scott
Pages 377-386 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

In the mining industry there exists a constant drive for increased safety and productivity and decreased operating costs. This acts as a driver for implementing advanced technology. As more and more mining operations turn to new technologies, an observed bottle-neck for technology advancement has been the limitation of machine vision solutions available. LiDAR has been seen as a possible solution to the machine vision problem. In the past, a few studies on machine vision solutions have been undertaken by various groups involving scanning laser range-finders and millimetre-wave radar. These studies have done little more than highlight the limitations of both technologies in the mining environment. Little work has been done, however, exploring the applicability of LiDAR imaging technology for mining applications. Neptec Technologies Corp. has developed an obscurant-penetrating LiDAR (OPAL) sensor technology which overcomes the limitations faced by traditional LiDAR sensors when operating in a dusty environment, as well as advanced 3D real-time intelligence (3DRi) data processing algorithms that enable the real-time exploitation of 3D imaging data with sensors mounted on moving vehicles. Working with Teck Resources Ltd. and Barrick Gold Corporation, Neptec is adapting the OPAL sensors and 3DRi technology to mining applications. This paper highlights a number of real-time OPAL/3DRi based mining applications demonstrating how this technology overcomes the limitations of traditional LiDAR to provide a real-time machine vision solution that supports mine machine autonomy.

Keywords: LiDAR, automation, mining, machine vision