Log Day 28 020922

Log Day 28
Informal conversations with Quecreek site personnel of MSHA and DEP deepen our
perspective and communicate our intention to further pursue the mapping initiative.
Black Wolf Mining president is unavailable. Communications with human surveyors
collaborate so that our maps will reference world coordinates.
Ferret demonstrates proof of principle with pipe mount, pan-tilt motion and working
laser. Groundhog demo falls short at 4PM. Later, software control succeeds. Computer
and wireless are onboard. Gas sensors are onboard. Amazing accomplishments manifest
from amazing people. Robots fail readiness, but illuminate agenda and risks to be
addressed with roles for technology, interface, operations and enterprise.
Discussions consider three proposal paths:
(1) ask for delay. Possibly install opening in breach for future use by robots. Rejected
(2) explosion proof components and vastly diminish functionality. Rejected
(3) emphasize sensing, safing, operations and controls, and ask for executive decree,
variance or direct approval of plan. Supported. Chuck and Red will propose
Here is the cover letter:
Carnegie Mellon University proposes to generate a digital model of the Quecreek/Saxman breach
to register maps and answer questions about the Saxman works. This will provide understanding
beyond what was generated from human entries, and it will accelerate robotic mine mapping by
years. Attached support materials convey the uniqueness of the proposed mapping.
Circumstances are amenable for success. Given the opportunity, we will cooperate with all parties
to deliver an exceptional, professional, safe and timely result. Site personnel estimate that
operations will occupy a dormant shift, and can be accomplished without appreciable impact on
schedule, personnel or competing agenda.
The operations have been discussed broadly with MSHA and Black Wolf Mining, though less so
with DEP. Notably from a safety standpoint, no personnel will be in the mine while the robot
maps. Intentions as of last Thursday were to proceed with operations Sunday (Yesterday).
Unfortunately, Friday afternoon was first mention of the operation to DEP site personnel, and
timeframes were unreasonably short. Considerations were raised about the short timeframe and
other matters. The consensus to proceed was appropriately called off. The shortfall of interaction
with DEP was a costly slight, for which CMU takes complete responsibility.
The equipment is uniquely designed with sensors and interlocks to monitor conditions and
operate reliably within a wide margin of safety from hazard. Operations will be safeguarded by
sensing, procedures, and controlled environment. The proposed equipment is not mine-certified,
which is the barrier to straightforward implementation. Despite consensus for safe and
responsible operations, deployment of non-certified equipment was deemed beyond the purview
of discussion participants. Discussions and telecon ensued, and Pat Brady of MSHA reversed
what had been a Thursday position to proceed, with apologies.
We request:
Executive approval to pursue robotic mapping of the Quecreek/Saxman site by the
attached plan. This might take the form of plan approval, variance or executive decree.
The time value of the proposed mapping calls for responsive action. The breach is likely to be
sealed soon, so creating the ground truth model of Saxman (particularly beyond the range of
human entry) is a fleeting opportunity. We will perform the proposed robotic mapping at no cost
to others, and in a timely fashion following approval to proceed.
Distribution is to regulatory agencies and state politicians with request for signature from DEP.
Chuck continues the marathon of composition to be followed by copy-shop, then electronic
distribution and driving to key recipients.