The U.S. Bureau of Mines is conducting research with the goal of automating underground coal mine roof bolters for greater mine safety. In the project described here, the Bureau has focused on automating the drilling portion of the drilling and bolting cycle. A drill monitoring system designed and developed by Parvus Corp. of Salt Lake City, Utah, was placed on a Bureau model roof-bolting drill. The drilling parameters of torque, thrust, rotation rate, penetration rate, and position are monitored through sensors connected to an asynchronous, control-oriented local area network (lan) that communicates with data-accumulating and data-processing nodes. By placing microprocessors at the two data nodes and at the valve control nodes, and combining these nodes with a personal computer (pc), the monitoring and control system can achieve parallel processing capabilities. Such capabilities are referred to as locally intelligent distributed processing. The scada system (supervisory control and data acquisition) displays the values of the drilling parameters and calculates the specific energy of drilling, which is then used an an indicator of the type of rock being drilled. Besides monitoring the drilling process, an operator at the computer can control the rotation and thrust of the drill from a remote location through the scada program and can set drilling parameters on the basis of observed values of the specific energy of drilling.