Research is being conducted toward making underground mining equipment autonomous. This will facilitate improvements in safety by relieving workers of dangerous tasks and will increase production by providing more accurate control with less downtime. A U.S. Bureau of Mines-developed microcomputer network has enhanced this research by permitting a group of diverse computers to interact with a mining machine as well as with each other over a common data link. The network is composed of specially integrated off-the-shelf hardware and industry-standard operating system and programming languages. Using the network, researchers can conduct various experiments with the mining machine using a diverse group of intelligent sensors, computers, and microcontrollers. Descriptions of the mining machine, the mining machine control computer, control algorithms, the microcomputer network architecture, and communication protocols are discussed.