Project: Mine Traffic Optimization

Partner: Barrick Gold Inc., MITAC Accelerate, Queen’s University
Dates: April 2010 - December 2011
Participants: Stahl, P.
Collaborator: Mike Borg, Matt Ratto
Description: The original project was a collaborative endeavour between the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and Barrick Gold Corporation. Between 2010 and 2012, the team identified the potential for optimizing the efficiency, productivity and safety of haul traffic in open pit mines. CEL emphasized the Human Factors challenges in open pit traffic, a novel domain for the HF discourse. Largely based on the data of two field trips, the two major problems of operator fatigue and distraction and human-automation interaction became the focus of the research effort.

The continuation of the project (beginning in 2012) concentrates on two instances of human-automation interaction in the mine. The first is the interaction between equipment/vehicle operators and the dispatch automation via an interface mounted in the cabins. The second is the interaction between the dispatch operator and the dispatch automation via the dispatching interface. In order to improve the interaction for equipment operators, we will investigate ways for operators to input first hand knowledge about the current mine state into the dispatch system. Giving them the opportunity to input information that is not currently available to the dispatch automation could increase dispatch effectiveness and efficiency.

Improvements with respect to the dispatching interface will be based on a functional analysis of the current system. The use of Cognitive Work Analysis to this end will ensure a system description from an ecological, formative perspective. This description, and especially system and operator requirements, will then feed into the design of an ecological interface.
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