Longwall automation has been viewed as a reachable goal due to the fairly repetitive and straightforward procedure involved with longwall mining. Although longwall automation is taking much longer than originally thought, recent technological developments have made inroads into automating the longwall supports and shearer components. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has explored these recent longwall automation developments and evaluated the ground control constraints that may hinder the operation of an automated face. The harsh and unpredictable underground environment poses many problems that may need consideration in the overall design of an automated longwall system. Ground control problems inherent to longwall mining include mountain bumps, face sloughing, roof cavities, and high horizontal stresses. Ground control problems related to geologic conditions include changing lithology, changing overburden, variations in panel continuity, and geologic anomalies. Keeping these ground control conditions in mind during the beginning stages of automation will promote the continued development and success of an automated longwall system for the future.