The project is in collaboration with the US government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, with NLT hoping to commercialise the technology.
Linked into the steering controls of an underground coal vehicle, a right-hand turn will set off bright LED lights to the right-hand side of the machine under the visual alert system.
The VAS will light up for one second before a machine moves backward or forward from a stationary position. This is particularly useful for remote operation.
Operators have inadvertently steered machines in their own direction using remotes before, but the VAS will give the operator a fright beforehand by showering them in bright light – allowing them to let go of the stick on the remote.
NLT is investigating the type of lighting system to use, which might include the use of transparent tubes of fibre optics.
NLT Australia managing director Tim Haight told ILN a couple of mining groups were already very interested in the VAS and trials should take place before the end of the year.