Mining Contract: Underground Mine Evacuation Technologies (UMET) and Human Factors Research

Contract # 75D30120C08913
Start Date 9/1/2020
Research Concept

The overarching research goal is to advance knowledge and frontiers in mine emergency evacuations and provide the basis for technology interventions that ensure safe miner self-escape as envisaged by the 2006 MINER Act.

Contract Status & Impact

This contract is ongoing. For more information on this contract, send a request to

This research shall create the Delay-Tolerant Network (DTN) based communication and content dissemination architecture, which addresses limitations of existing technologies. DTN nodes find other nodes in an opportunistic fashion, and it does not rely on any fixed or Wi-Fi based infrastructure. DTN nodes can also communicate with Wi-Fi and other infrastructure nodes. It stores and forwards information when nodes are available to carry messages. DTN nodes range can increase from 100-330 feet range for Bluetooth to 655-1,310 feet in lower power setting. This range can substantially increase to beyond 6,600 feet when DTN nodes are equipped with Wave Relay MPU5 radio and with Android OS (from Persistent System) with a range of 9,000 feet LoS (Non-Line-of-Sight communication with a reduced range based on the types of obstacles) with bandwidths of up to 40 MHz.

Specific research objectives include the following:

  1. Develop and evaluate the viability of Delay-Tolerant Network technology and its integrity and resilience due to explosions and fire, for communication during self-escape;
  2. Initiative to Empower Miners for Self-Escape: Assess human factors that facilitate self-escape and recommend interventions to overcome barriers to miner self-escape;
  3. Advancing Refuge Alternatives in Mine Emergencies: Evaluate critical ingress/egress mechanisms for Build-In-Place Refuge Alternatives components when subjected to explosions; and
  4. Underground Mine Fire Emergency Evacuation Optimization: Develop an integrated underground mine fire emergency and optimization system for safe self-escape from fire hazards

Page last reviewed: 1/13/2022 Page last updated: 1/13/2022