Mining Project: Wireless Network Performance Requirements for Safety-Critical Systems in Mining

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Principal Investigator
Start Date 10/1/2020
End Date 9/30/2021

To determine relevant performance requirements to ensure robustness of existing and emerging wireless network technologies as applied to safety-critical systems in the mining industry.

Topic Areas

Research Summary

Wireless networks are central to many existing and emerging technologies being introduced into the U.S. mining industry to enhance miner safety and health as well as improve profitability of operations. However, in the U.S. mining industry there are no regulations, standards, or performance requirements to ensure that when used in safety-critical systems or applications, these wireless networks will function properly and not pose an additional or unnecessary risk to miners.

To address this issue, this pilot project will undertake four research aims, as described below.

  1. Identify, to the extent possible, desired wireless network system performance criteria for safety-critical mine applications. This will include development of a functional block diagram of the various elements involved with the wireless control of automated haul trucks in a surface mine, including all elements that may contribute to potential communications failures.
  2. Research existing mining and non-mining sector system performance requirements. An extensive literature review will be conducted to survey existing safety-critical wireless network regulations, standards, and performance requirements for automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, military, mining, and other non-mining sectors. Researchers will attend relevant conferences to participate in workshops, training, and presentations directly related to mission-critical and safety-critical wireless networks and learn about current industry trends.
  3. Compare existing and emerging technologies in meeting known performance requirements. Researchers will review existing and emerging mining sector technologies; define those considered to be safety-critical that could be impacted by wireless network performance; and determine if these technologies meet any known non-mining industry regulations, standards, or performance requirements.
  4. Identify gaps in performance requirements. Based on data gathered through research aims 1 and 2, researchers will identify potential gaps in mining or non-mining sector regulations, standards, or performance requirements for wireless networks that may impact mining industry applications.

Researchers involved in this pilot project will produce an internal white paper summarizing the project’s findings and providing recommendations for future research opportunities. Impact will be measured by way of successful identification of performance gaps in existing and emerging mining sector safety-critical wireless network systems and recommendations for future research.

Page last reviewed: May 18, 2022
Page last updated: May 18, 2022