The mining industry is leading the world in automation

“The mining industry has led the world in automation”, Duke University Director of the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory, Professor Mary Cummings has said at a CEDA event in Brisbane.

The event, the second of a two-part series, Energy and resources, examined the promises and pitfalls of autonomous systems, particularly in the mining industry.

Professor Mary Cummings shared her perspectives and insights into the increasingly critical role of automated systems, and how these are used to optimise isolated and globally dispersed operations.

“Mining is a dangerous area… and the sooner we can replace skill-based and rule-based areas with automated systems, the (sooner) safety will improve, the bottom line is going to improve, efficiency is going to improve,” Professor Cummings said.

“The biggest hurdle that the mining industry is going to face is in software development”.

Professor Cummings said that currently there is too much emphasis on hardware and while mining is leading the way in automation, in “some ways they (the mining industry) are also playing catch-up… The big area that mining is lagging in is software development.”

“Software companies need to work more closely with the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” Professor Cummings said.

NICTA Chief Executive Officer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, said there is a need to focus on innovation in the mining industry.

“We have some really great opportunities in Australia for doing innovation that drives at the heart of productivity, efficiency and ultimately prosperity in this country.”