Robotic technology advancements have helped various industries, including the mining industry. Intelligent robotics systems are gaining popularity due to their use in many sectors where safety is critical.
Even so, robots continue to rely on humans to operate them and, in specific cases, help them do their tasks. Now, the most popular form of controlling intelligent robots is through standard Remote Control (RC).
Since an operator should give the robot instructions in real-time, remote-controlled robots invariably use human control. However, autonomous control is often the most desirable form of control because it eliminates the need for human control. Recent developments have made autonomous control possible for intelligent robotic systems.
How autonomous control works?
Autonomous means having the ability to govern oneself, and as such, autonomous controllers have the ability to self-govern in the performance of various tasks.
In practice, autonomous control systems use GPS devices integrated into the control systems of intelligent robots. An autonomous controller can plan the sequence of control actions that must be taken in order to achieve predefined goals.
An autonomous control system’s architecture is typically composed of three levels. The Execution level is the lowest level and serves as the interface between the robot and its environment via sensors and actuators.
An intelligent autonomous controller is at its best in a complex series of systems with differing performance requirements. Even so, all autonomous controls use deterministic feedback controls in their operation.
This feedback requires that a particular task be completed in a minimum time or using minimum energy. The control algorithms developed for autonomous controllers are built with uncertainty in mind.
Merits of autonomy
There are several reasons why underground intelligent robots are preferred over manually controlled machines. To start with, the mining situation can be dangerous, and an accident such as a mine collapse can result in fatalities. An autonomous robotic will not require any human involvement, and as such, the safety of human beings is a promise.
A human operator cannot cause errors in autonomous intelligent robots. When using a traditional remote control, the human operator may make mistakes in judgment, resulting in the loss of the robotic. This loss will have a significant financial impact on the mining company.
Once autonomy is granted, the intelligent robotic’s efficiency goes way up. The full potential of the robot cant be realized when controlled by a human since the controller may operate within some perceived limitations.
Autonomous robotics use complex computational algorithms to process the information gathered and determine the most effective and efficient way to complete a task.
An autonomous robot is able to deal with new and unexpected situations that may arise within its boundaries. It is possible in high-degree autonomy robotics, where the autonomous controller can perform some hardware repairs if one of its components fails. It is a desirable feature because underground mining robots venture into areas that are inaccessible or extremely dangerous for humans.
In fact, some of the tasks performed by intelligent robots are mundane and time-consuming. To name a few, such tasks include taking toxicity levels deep underground and moving from one point to another along a predetermined path.
Intelligent robots have overcome some of the challenges associated with underground mining. It is due to the fact that robots can perform tasks in environments that are too dangerous for humans. Robots with autonomous control have the potential to increase the efficiency of mining robotics, thus increasing their value to the industry.
While most autonomously controlled robotics are currently very expensive and are used by the military and in space missions, research indicates that better, less expensive, more efficient, and adaptive robots will be available in the future. It will increase the usage of autonomous robotics in the mining industry, resulting in increased productivity.