Concepts for Development of Autonomous Coal Mine Shuttle Cars

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


During the last few decades, the mining industry has increasingly turned to autonomous systems in its efforts to modernize and advance mining methods and techniques. Vehicle automation in such complex working environments can play a critical role in improving worker safety and mine productivity. Moreover, as the global demand for minerals continues to increase, such technologies will enable access to deeper and more difficult to mine orebodies. The research reported in this article seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of autonomous batch haulage vehicles in the underground coal mining production cycle. By introducing autonomous shuttle cars, the operator can be removed from dusty, noisy, and potentially dangerous conditions and be placed in a relatively safe location, while supervising the machine rather than operating it. This article presents an overview of the approach taken, a description of a lab-scale model and mock mine environment, and preliminary results for autonomous navigation of the prototype shuttle car.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8989833
Pages (from-to)3272-3280
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received July 14, 2019; revised December 27, 2019; accepted January 7, 2020. Date of publication February 10, 2020; date of current version April 24, 2020. Paper 2019-MIC-0825.R1, presented at the 2019 IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD USA, Sep. 29–Oct. 3, and approved for publication in the IEEE TRANSACTION ON INDUSTRY APPLICATION by the Mining Industry Committee of the IEEE Industry Applications Society. This work was supported by the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health, Inc. (Alpha Foundation). (Corresponding author: Joseph Sottile.) The authors are with the Mining and Minerals Research Bldg., University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506 USA (e-mail:;;;

Publisher Copyright:
© 1972-2012 IEEE.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Autonomous navigation
  • coal mining
  • mining industry
  • room and pillar mining
  • shuttle car

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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