The U.S. Bureau of Mines, in conjunction with a cooperator, has developed new technology to economically mine a greater percentage of coal reserves in highwall outcrop settings. This new mining system features a computer-based tele-operating subsystem for distant, non-line-of-sight control of a thin-seam continuous miner and coal haulage units. A single operator, situated at an ergonomically designed workstation within a protective enclosure on a highwall bench, controls all the coal extraction and haulage equipment that penetrate the coal seam deep within the hillside. This workstation consists of a special chair, two control modules, two color video monitors, an array of displays, and a control computer. Details of this operator workstation, a summary of the overall highwall mining system, and current test status are discussed.
Proc. 1989 IEEE Int'l Conf. on Robotics & Auto., Az, May 1989; IEEE, V. 3, 1989, PP. 1478-1483