The U.S. Bureau of Mines is approaching the problems of productivity and accidents in the U.S. coal mining industry through the application of artificial intelligence and robotics to mining systems. This technology can increase the productivity of mining systems through a reduction of downtime and through more efficient operation of mining equipment. Safety should increase since workers are removed from hazardous areas or tasks, thereby reducing the number of accidents. The near-term goal is to develop technology that can be implemented as an autonomous continuous mining machine. This requires research on navigation systems, coal-rock interface detectors, machine condition monitoring, and intelligent machine control. The Bureau's program on automation and robotics is presented, and plans for the future are discussed.