Speech technology is a feasible human-machine and human-computer interface to robotic and automated mining systems. A spoken message can inform human operators without requiring them to divert their attention from their work. Controlling a mining machine by means of spoken commands leaves the hands and eyes free to carry out concurrent tasks. Thus, voice recognition allows machine operators to focus their attention on the machine actions. One example of an application that minimizes human factor problems by meeting the needs of the mine mechanic is the U.S. Bureau of Mines experimental effort that combines the use of a diagnostic expert system with graphic displays and voice input and output. The application of robotics and automation technologies to mining can contribute substantially to improvements in worker health, safety, and mining efficiency. As a supporting technology, speech technology can be successfully implemented in the mining industry and can be expected to confer benefits similar to those realized by the manufacturing industry. The Bureau plans to explore these possibilities by using speech technology as a computer interface in intelligent mining systems.