WP5 Field Trials and Results Dissemination

A programme of trials and post-trial analyses will be carried out. This will help to ensure that the demonstration systems are adequately tested and fit for purpose. Transfer of the outcome of the project is particularly important so several means will be used for the dissemination of the project results to interested parties. Included here are a project Website, presentations at conferences, publication of papers, a conference/training session at the conclusion of the project to which interested parties will be invited, and full documentation for use by third parties.

The work is divided into the following tasks:

T6.1 – Field Trials of Communication Equipment & Resilient, Survivable Sensors

While some of the communications technologies developed in WP1 are enabling technologies for the unmanned exploratory vehicles developed in WP3, which will be field tested in T6.3, the LF/VLF mesh equipment and the wire-guided radio can also form the basis of person-to-person voice or text communication. As such, both will be field tested for this application in this task. Also, because the resilient, survivable sensors can be configured to act as LF/VLF mesh nodes, as opposed to just relying on the presence of a mesh network, it is appropriate to combine field tests of this equipment into this task.

Accordingly, three prototypes, developed in two separate work packages, will be tested here, namely (1) wire-guided radio, (2) LF/VLF mesh equipment, and (3) resilient, survivable environmental sensors. The purpose of this field testing phase is to allow the equipment to be used by typical end users (i.e. rescue teams) in an environment that is as close as possible to that in which they are designed to be used. The trials and their outcome will be fully documented in terms of textual descriptions and numerical results, plus photography and video footage for use in the results dissemination.

T6.2 – Field Trials of Unmanned Exploratory Vehicles

The small, unmanned exploratory vehicles, developed in WP3, together with the vehicle processing hub, developed in WP5, will be tested in this task. Rescue teams will take part in the tests to provide invaluable feedback on issues of suitability to the task, ease-of-use and ergonomics. These tests form a natural follow-on to the laboratory tests conducted in T3.4 and will be carefully planned in phases, each with a particular scope and objective.

First, the robots will be tested individually in mine open space with all the communication facilities, the objective being to check the unmanned navigation without obstacles.

Second, the vehicles will be tested individually in conditions with obstacles and in a cluttered environment.

Third, the robots will be tested under conditions of coordinated (swarm) navigation and the tests will include full communication and localisation tests.

In each of the three phases of these operational trials, metrics and benchmarks will be introduced. These will include time, speed, energy consumption, precision localization path repeatability etc. Still photography and video footage will be obtained for use in the results dissemination.

T6.3 – Field Trials of Composite Material Props

The composite material props, developed in WP4, will be tested underground in two distinct phases.

First, a measurement station will be set up underground for the purpose of testing the props’ behaviour under rock mass loading. The parameters to be tested include prop load and yielding, buckling, and damage. These trials and their outcome will be fully documented in terms of textual descriptions and numerical results.

Next, tests will be conducted by mine rescue teams during underground operations such as dam installation, borehole drilling and other scenarios, the detailed scope of such applications having been determined in Task 4.5. Emphasis here will be given to issues or ergonomics and usability.

For further analysis and for use in the results dissemination phase, video footage and photographs of the trials will be obtained.

T6.4– Field Trials of Transport Vehicle

The electric transport vehicle, developed in WP5, will be tested in typical underground conditions, the main purpose of the trial being an appraisal of its transportation capabilities. As a result of this aim, tests will be carried out in typical mine conditions, with a full load of equipment and materials, as identified in T5.2. Indeed, composite material props as developed and prototyped in T4.5 will form part of the payload. Because the work on the electromagnetic torsional vibration generator drilling rig in T4.1 – T4.2 involves the detailed design of the main components but not their integration to provide a prototype, a mock-up of the drilling rig, with identical dimensions and weight, will be used.

Because a key aim in the development of the transportation vehicle is small size and hence high manoeuvrability, aspects of user acceptance and paramount. Rescue personnel will appraise the vehicle and their feedback will be documented.

As with other field trials, video footage and still photography will form a key part of the output.

T6.5 – Dissemination of Project Results

The results will be disseminated via the following actions:

All of the equipment and techniques developed in the project will be fully documented to provide users manuals covering, as appropriate, installation information, instructions on utilisation and guidance regarding maintenance.

Dissemination will also be achieved through presentations at national and international conferences, and through papers published in national and international professional and scientific journals, throughout the course of the project. This activity will be carried out by all partners as opportunities arise.

Towards the end of the project, a workshop will be organised to which stakeholders will be invited. These stakeholders will include mines rescue organisations and coal producers throughout Europe. This event will be held in Poland because of the high concentration of working mines in Poland.