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By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

Maptek reveals smart eyes for dark mines

Underground mining new proximity option for better safety Metal Tech News - May 17, 2023


Last updated 5/24/2023 at 6:32am

A truck driving into a larger cavern from a tunnel underground.


With Maptek's latest VisionV2X software, an equipment operator can "see" possible collisions before they happen.

Bringing a whole new meaning to the term tunnel vision, Maptek PTY Ltd. recently announced the introduction of its latest underground proximity detection, VisionV2X.

Operating out of Sydney since 1981, the small geological services team at Maptek has grown into a global mining technology business that offers a wide array of tools that enlighten mining operations.

From 3D geological modeling and mine design with its cornerstone Vulcan software to laser imaging with its Sentry technology for use in underground stability monitoring and risk management systems, Maptek's portfolio spans a breadth of nearly every aspect of data that is needed and wanted in a modern, smart mine.

Now, to create a system that miners could rely on for proximity detection underground, Maptek turned to proven technology in the automotive industry. Applying their expertise in software, company engineers combined their knowledge of mining with input from ergonomics and human experience to design a seamless system that is easy to navigate and use in an environment that is anything but.

The result – VisionV2X, which can operate hundreds of meters underground and is currently in use at one of the world's largest copper mines.

"Our latest product is firmly in touch with the Austmine theme 'Transforming the future' and in line with our industry imperative to bring everyone home at the end of a shift underground," said Maptek CEO Eduardo Coloma. "That's a lot of people. The numbers around underground mines globally are staggering. Hundreds of kilometres of tunnels across multiple shafts, operating kilometres below the surface. And of course thousands of people operating heavy and light machinery in Wi-Fi and GPS denied environments."

VisionV2X allows miners to "see" underground and around corners, with meter accuracy, to ensure even fully-loaded high-speed trucks have time to react to each other in nearly all conditions.

"The Maptek proximity awareness system has underground safety as the key objective," said Coloma. "It can be fitted to any vehicle across a mixed manufacturer fleet that is commonly deployed in underground mines."

Understanding the need for ease of use, the company says that the golden rules for any safety system is that it is reliable, easy to install, and straightforward.

Illustration of the proximity detection of VisionV2X for underground equipment.


An illustrated example of the proximity detection offered by Maptek's latest VisionV2X software.

Which is why, at the heart of VisionV2X is an ergonomic touchscreen interface installed in heavy vehicle cabs that operators can rely on for visual and audible feedback around the proximity of at-risk personnel and vehicles.

To ensure reliability, the system continuously runs automated checks in the background.

Hoping this new technology can bring everyone home at the end of each day, VisionV2X is a strategic system that will enable mine managers and supervisors to achieve operational safety KPIs (key performance indicators).

As the data is logged onboard the vehicle and sent back to a central server for analysis and reporting, Maptek aims for its latest offering to continue to inform and prepare underground miners with a tool that gives them 360-degree 'night vision' in an otherwise perilous and unknown environment.


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