Collision Avoidance - Proximity Detection 101

Proximity detection and collision avoidance are critical to vehicles, machines and operators. During routine production tasks, operators and light vehicles may come into close proximity of heavy mining vehicles and machines such as Load-Haul Dump vehicles (LHDs). Reduced cockpit visibility and obstruction around corners create significant safety issues, especially for vehicles traveling at a typical 25kph. The SafeDetect™ system emits low frequency electromagnetic signals that can penetrate rock and steel.

The strength of the signal can be accurately translated to a distance according to an object’s relative proximity and then converted to a warning within a range of 1m to 40m. A significant advantage of SafeDetect™ and its unique magnetic wave technology is non-reliance on conventional GPS techniques. This is critical for underground mining operations and surface, openpit environments where GPS is either not possible or satellite visibility is impeded. Magnetic wave technology therefore provides peer-to-peer operation avoiding the need for network connectivity and inherent latency delay.

Multiple warnings and ranges can be set according to critical proximity requirements and automatically adapted based on relative speed and distance. In addition to an audible and visual alarm, warnings can be converted to automatically take control of the machine in order to avoid an impending collision.

In this scenario, the SafeDetect™ system could be configured to a maximum range of 40m, or to the highest speed of the LHD, allowing the operator to manoeuvre and reduce its speed to avoid a collision. A second boundary can be configured with a closer proximity setting (such as 20m) that would initiate a more insistent warning. This warning would provide the operator with confirmation that the hazard remains and is seriously close.

A third boundary can be configured that might automatically apply the LHD primary braking system. The distance between the two objects that triggers this inner boundary might be just 10m.

SafeDetect™ can also be connected to the LHD operating system to automatically adjust the warning boundary distances relative to the speed of the machine.

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