The purpose of this investigation was to test a blast shield, develop a conceptual design for an automated drill and blast system (adbs), and make an economic analysis of the adbs compared with conventional drill, blast, and muck (dbm) systems. The adbs tunneling concept was developed in an effort to design an excavation system of greater efficiency than the dbm systems conventionally used. The adbs would minimize downtime and approach noncyclic efficiently by small charge blasting. Small charge blasting uses simultaneously detonated light charges in four to eight short holes, usually in a line. Limitation of the total explosive per blast reduced air blast overpressure, fly rock velocity, vibrations, and noise enabling the blast shield to adequately contain these side effects. Conceptual design for the adbs included blast shield, chassis, hydraulic drills, automated explosive loading and firing system and an armored cab. Horizontal and vertical blast shield alinement controls and ventilation are incorporated into the design.