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Mining Contract: Mine Escape Vehicle Concept Investigation

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Contract DetailValue
Contract #200-2008-24826
Start Date4/29/2008
End Date2/28/2009
Research Concept

This contract will provide a design concept for a Mine Escape Vehicle (MEV) to facilitate rapid escape of mine personnel from an underground coal mine in the case of an emergency including a fire or explosion. The design concept for the vehicle will include subsystem components for the vehicle platform, life support, vision, navigation, and communication.

Program Areas

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is completed. To receive a copy of the final report, send a request to

This work involved developing a conceptual design for a vehicle that coal miners could use to facilitate their rapid exit from an underground coal mine in an emergency, including a fire or explosion. The Mine Escape Vehicle (MEV) concept is driven by the desire to enable personnel to evacuate a mine rapidly as the first and most desirable response to an emergency. Vehicle requirements include the capacity to provide life support functions for a number of miners, operate in an oxygen-deficient, low- or no-visibility atmosphere, and travel at speeds faster than miners can walk out of a mine. Three primary tasks were identified:

  1. Develop a realistic concept of operations (CONOPS) and associated requirements for the vehicle, including subsystems for the vehicle platform, life support, communications, vision, and navigation.
  2. Identify and evaluate currently available equipment and technologies that could be applied to address the CONOPS.
  3. Develop a design concept integrating the identified components for the five MEV subsystems to provide the foundation for subsequent detailed engineering design and prototype construction, both of which lie outside the scope of the contract.

The MEV design concept is centered upon retrofitting an existing mine personnel carrier chassis with available, mine-worthy equipment capable of addressing the MEV requirements. This approach offers a practical and economic avenue for prototype development and delivery with minimum lead time and risk. Furthermore, by integrating familiar and available equipment into the design and CONOPS, the resulting Mine Escape Vehicle should also be more readily accepted by the mining industry.

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