RESEARCH ARTICLE


Remote Operation of Mining Equipment Using Panoramic Display Systems: Exploring the Sense of Presence



Craig A. James*, Kerstin Haustein, Tomasz P. Bednarz, Leila Alem, Con Caris, Andrew Castleden
CSIRO, 1 Technology Court, Pullenvale, QLD, 4069, Australia


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Castleden et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the CSIRO, 1 Technology Court, Pullenvale, QLD, 4069, Australia; Tel: +61 7 3327 4788, +61 457 560 578; Fax: +61 7 3327 4566; E-mail: craig.a.james@csiro.au


Abstract

The mining industry is interested in tele-operation systems to remove mining operators from hazardous or inconvenient environments while providing them with enough sensory information such that their efficiency is maintained or even enhanced. Similar systems are also used to provide collaboration and assistance in remote problem solving situations, including emergency scenarios. The increased availability of high-speed wired and wireless data networks is promoting the use of immersive environments, but there is not enough evidence yet to support whether such environments significantly improve the field-tested performance of tele-operation systems or not. We are interested in investigating a mixed-presence, tele-operation scenario involving an offsite operator remotely operating a robot as well as an onsite operator co-located with the robot. These scenarios are common in industry, yet poorly researched. We have conducted a trial to explore the effects of immersion on operator spatial awareness, sense of presence and satisfaction, in a mixed presence tele-operation scenario. This paper presents the results of our trial using a panoramic display system that provides some level of immersion. However, unlike virtual environments it provides an immersive view using video of a real remote space. The outcome of our work provides a first step in the exploration of cost effective technologies of potential value to the mining industry.

Keywords: Tele-operation, tele-collaboration, remote operation, immersion, panoramic displays, presence, measures, survey and route knowledge.