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NIOSH Seeks Proposals on Robotics Technologies for Assisting in Underground Mining Rescue Efforts


April 28, 2014
NIOSH Update:

Contact: Christina Spring (202) 245-0633

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR) is looking for proposals to address a need for practical robotics technologies or systems that can be used by the mining community to support self-escape or mine rescue efforts in the event of an emergency. When the lives of mine workers are in danger, it is critical that mine emergency response systems are in place and able to function quickly and effectively. Such technologies would assist in improving emergency response to mine disasters.

OMSHR is interested in proposals on robotics technologies or systems that can improve self- escape and rescue including, but not limited to, those that meet the following goals:

  • Able to be lowered through the boreholes and then navigated through the mine providing visual and atmospheric information to the operator on the surface.
  • Able to explore several thousand feet ahead of the rescue teams and provide visual and atmospheric information to the rescue team members following behind the advancement of the robot.
  • Able to remove injured miners or carry heavy loads into and out of the mine for the rescue teams on a fully or semi-autonomous basis.

In addition to the above objectives, the robotics technologies or systems should be designed so that the electronics and other components on the robot do not introduce the possibility of an ignition if they encounter an explosive environment. The proposed solution to this particular issue can be either a general solution, applicable to any technologies, or incorporated with a solution to one of the three topic areas described previously.

Details about the solicitation are available on, under solicitation number 2014-N-15806. Submissions must be received by May 14, 2014. View more details about the solicitation and how to submit proposals.

OMSHR conducts research, exploratory development, testing, or evaluations of new technologies to improve mine safety. This includes looking at adapting technologies from other industries for application in mining environments. Learn more about OMSHR.