Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation
The Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) at the University of Sydney has established a major new Centre for Mine Automation. Rio Tinto, a global mining company, has committed $21m of funding for an initial period of five years for this new Centre. The aim of the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation (RTCMA) is to develop and implement the vision of a fully autonomous, remotely operated mine.
The Centre was commissioned in August 2007. Since its launch, a world class research and technical team of more than 20 talented Engineers have joined the Centre. These individuals, from locations spanning 6 continents, are involved in the research, development and deployment of technology for a fully autonomous, remotely operated mine.
The RTCMA has a range of programmes under way in areas including sensing, machine learning, data fusion and systems engineering. This work has resulted in a number of major research advancements, in both fundamental and applied areas. The team has also been working closely with Rio Tinto to transition this new technology into mine operations.
In July 2008 the team moved into new offices, refurbished to accommodate the unique research needs of the group. In the year ahead, the RTCMA is looking to expand the team even further. This will require additional skilled researchers, software engineers and postgraduate students to join the exciting R&D programme.