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Robots and Drones in Underground Aggregates


RR102119 WVUlogoOctober 21, 2019 – Injuries and deaths caused by roof collapses and falling debris, common culprits for underground mine accidents, could be prevented by the unlikely force of robots and drones, thanks to the work of West Virginia University (WVU) engineers.

Ihsan Berk Tulu, assistant professor of mining engineering, along with Jason Gross, Yu Gu and Guilherme Pereira, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, are developing an autonomous robotic system to monitor the structural integrity and safety of underground mines, according to an article in the Register-Herald.

The researchers will leverage similar technology to what is currently under development for underground tunnel rescue operations by the WVU robotics team to develop the robotic system. The system will then be deployed to Laurel Aggregates underground stone mine in Lake Lynn, Pa., for testing.

Located a few miles north of Morgantown, Laurel Aggregates is a large surface and underground limestone quarry operation, which produces approximately three million tons of construction aggregates per year. Manager of Operations and Engineering Richard Rohrssen, Vice President and General Manager Barry Fink and Underground Superintendent Brian Cramer are leading the effort for Laurel to support the WVU research team.