The Autonomous Mining Working Group conducted a survey in June 2017, requesting that participants share their feedback on the most pressing issues regarding autonomous mining and how long it will take the industry to become fully autonomous. GMSG received more than 120 responses from participants in all spectrums of autonomous mining experience, and including mining companies, OEMs, consultants, OTMs and more.

The survey will inform a roadmap for future autonomous mining tools and guidelines to be developed by the Autonomous Mining Working Group. These results demonstrate a general consensus that the industry is heading toward a fully autonomous mine within the next 15 years. They also reveal how issues such as interoperability, safety, and providing a business case are top of mind when it comes to overcoming barriers to implementation.

Take a look at the survey results below to see the full picture of the industry’s views on autonomous mining.

Level of Experience


Respondent Company’s Level of Experience with Autonomous Mining*

22% Consult on autonomous mining
21% Have minimal experience
17% Manufacture/supply technology related to autonomous mining
16% Operate one/a few pieces of autonomous equipment
15% Manufacture/supply autonomous equipment
12% Have no experience
11% Operate an autonomous fleet
8% Answered “other”
*Respondents had option to select more than one response

Surface vs. Underground Autonomous Mining Experience

35% Surface
33% Underground
32% Both

Respondents’ Organization Type
46% Mine Operator
19% Consultant
17% OEM
8% OTM (Technology Provider)
2% Research/Academia
2% Contract Miner
2% Industry Association
4% Other


Additional functions:

9% Other (Procurement, Consultant, etc.)
4% Technician/IT
1% Sales

Autonomous Mining Timeline, Challenges, and Area of Interest


Challenges to Autonomous Mining Ranked from Most Critical to Least

      1. Change Management
      2. Proving the Value
      3. Lack of Interoperability
      4. Lack of Capability/Functionality/Maturity of Current Solutions and Technology
      5. Unwillingness to be an Early Adopter
      6. Workforce/Training/Skills
      7. Safety Concerns
      8. Few Technology Providers – Narrow Market
      9. Working with Regulators/Lack of Maturity of Specific Regulations
      10. Financial Risk/Capital Investment
      11. Lack of Internal Operating and/or Support Capability
      12. Mine Environment Challenges
      13. Organizational Culture
      14. Human risk
      15. Social License/Public Perception
      16. IP vs. Open Tech Development
      17. Mine Design
      18. Availability of Expertise
      19. Changing Technology



Global Collaboration Areas of Interest Identified as Bringing the Most Value to an Organization

      1. Interoperability
      2. Safety
      3. Implementation/Design
      4. Business Case
      5. OEM Integration/Standards
      6. Case Studies/Demos/Tours/Webinars
      7. Regulators
      8. Architecture/Framework/Data
      9. Communications
      10. Tech Specs and Standards
      11. Skills/HR/Education
      12. Benchmarking
      13. Change Management
      14. Business Model
      15. Definitions
      16. Operator/OEM Collaboration
      17. Reliability
      18. R&D Funding
      19. Integrated Operations
      20. Vision



Existing Standards/Tools/Collaborative Efforts GMSG Should be Aware of

  • Western Australia Code of Practice
  • ISO
  • Operator/Industry Projects
  • OEM Collaborations
  • ISO TC 82
  • ISO 17757
  • BEV-related
  • ISA
  • Connected Vehicle Technology
  • P1025
  • Mining Innovation Hub SA
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • EN60204-1:2006
  • ISO9001_2008
  • ISO1389-2:2011
  • ISO13849-1:2015
  • AS4242
  • AS3000
  • ISO3450‐2011
  • V2x
  • CAN J1839
  • CMIC
  • US Department of Transportation
  • NCSL – Self-Driving Vehicles Enacted Legislation
  • Mining Phakisa
  • Society of Manufacturing
  • Right Item 5
  • CIS
  • CSA
  • NIST
  • OGC
  • LASC Longwall Automation







For more information on GMSG’s Autonomous Mining work, contact Heather Ednie.