Mining Contract: Development and Testing of a Mine Escape Vehicle (MEV)
In a separate contract, the Mine Escape Vehicle (MEV) concept was compelled by the need to enable personnel to evacuate from a mine rapidly as the first and most desirable response to an emergency. The vehicle requirements included the capacity to provide life support functions for a number of miners, operate in an oxygen deficient atmosphere with little or no visibility, and travel at speeds faster than miners could walk out of the mine. In the final contract report, Raytheon UTD developed a realistic concept of operations (CONOPS) and the associated list of MEV performance and operational requirements. The CONOPS included subsystems for the vehicle platform, life support, communications, vision, and navigation. In the report, Raytheon disclosed that some of the subsystem components recommended for use were not developed or required additional work before they could be fully utilized in an MEV. In the NIOSH conception of the roadmap to develop the MEV, it is thought that the subsystem components should be readily available and not require substantial research and development before they are offered to the mining industry. This simplistic approach would guarantee delivery of a fully functional MEV to the mining industry in the shortest time possible. However, as subsystem components evolve and newer or more sophisticated technology is created, these newer components could be easily added to enhance the capability of the MEV. (It should be noted that work to enhance the capability of existing technology is not the subject of this effort.) NIOSH believes that the MEV subsystem components should have the flexibility for retrofit into existing vehicles for greater utility and to avoid the need to provide and maintain specialized escape vehicles at each section of the mine. This retrofit capability may enable mine operators to potentially convert some mine conveyance vehicles into MEVs thus enhancing the potential for mine rescue or escape. Finally, it is intended that most of the MEV subsystem components should have utility and function outside of the MEV should escaping miners need to dismount from the vehicle platform and move through the mine on foot.
Contract Status & Impact
Further contract details pending.
- Mine Escape Vehicle Concept Investigation (2013-09)
A contract to provide a design for a Mine Escape Vehicle to facilitate rapid escape of personnel from an underground mine in an emergency. The design for the vehicle will include components for vehicle platform, life support, navigation, and communication.