High tech vehicle detection system boost for mine safety
02 July 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201915022
BOOYCO Electronics, well known for its proximity detection system (PDS) that helps keep pedestrians safer in the underground mining environment, has now developed a vehicle detection system (VDS) that triggers interventions to prevent vehicle-to-vehicle accidents.
According to Booyco Electronics Engineer and Developer Frank Schommer, the VDS, an evolution of the company’s vehicle-to-vehicle detection system, is applicable in both surface and underground environments.
The system can measure the distance between the vehicles in a range from 10 metres up to 100 metres, with a measuring accuracy of 1 metre. Not only can it determine the position of a vehicle but also the direction in which it is travelling.
“This means that the operator will be informed if another vehicle is close by, as well as the number of vehicles there are in the proximity,” said Schommer. “Based on a high frequency wave transmission, the new VDS technology has been developed to comply with the latest safety regulations for moving vehicles on mines.”
While these high frequencies do not penetrate rock in underground mining environments like low frequencies can, they are able detect other vehicles at a greater distance.
Like the pedestrian PDS, the Booyco VDS’s functionality is based on different ‘zones’ within the radio field around each vehicle that is created by a transmitter; the distance of each zone from the vehicle can be defined by the customer, depending on their actual conditions and specific vehicles on site.
“For example, the system can be set so that it delivers a warning to the operators at a distance of 50 metres. If no action is taken after that warning, and the distance between the vehicles is reduced, then a second zone is entered, and a command is generated for the operator to reduce speed. If speed is not reduced and the vehicles continue to get closer to each other, an intervention is triggered by the system to slow the vehicles down.”
Schommer said the accuracy of the system ensures that there is sufficient reaction time after warnings are given for the operator to act, reducing the possibility of a collision.
While the system caters for larger vehicles with longer distances between them – such as on-surface load and haul operations – it is also applicable underground as it can measure long distances between machines through tunnels.
The company’s PDS system – which is based on very low frequency (VLF) wave transmission – can penetrate tunnel sidewalls underground; this allows the detection of pedestrians who are out of sight around a corner, but over shorter distances.
“It is therefore optimal to use the VDS and PDS systems together on the same vehicle to achieve higher levels of safety,” said Schommer.
“Combining these technologies allows mines to improve safety between vehicles – where the distances to be measured are longer – as well as between vehicles and pedestrians – where it is important to detect workers who are closer but not visible to the operators.”