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【国际矿业】谈中国矿山卡车自动化先行者——踏歌智行

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踏歌智行提供的矿区无人运输整体解决方案,不仅能够解决矿区招工难、事故频发、成本高等痛点,更能推动智慧矿山与中国智能制造的长远发展。踏歌智行作为中国矿山卡车自动化先行者,也代表着中国先进科技发展水平,吸引众多国内外媒体的高度关注。以下为国际矿业网(International Mining)对踏歌智行创始人兼CEO余贵珍、首席技术官黄立明、副总裁李庆社的采访内容:

外媒:作为一家无人技术解决方案企业,您能介绍一下的踏歌智行的公司背景吗,以及你们是如何开始涉足并活跃于采矿行业的?
余贵珍:
北京踏歌智行科技有限公司成立于2016年,是一家专注于露天矿用车无人驾驶技术研究和产品开发的高新技术企业。露天矿区相对封闭、路线可管控、运输速度低,矿区是无人驾驶最好的落地场景,踏歌智行以大型无人矿卡作为切入点,研发矿山运输无人驾驶方案将解决矿区运输事故频发、招工难、成本高等痛点,目前已经在白云鄂博铁矿和霍林河煤矿成功应用。 Interviewer Can you give some background on TAGE Idriver as a robotics solution company and how you came to be active in the mining sector?
Yu GuizhenFounded in 2016, Beijing TAGE Idriver Technology Co Ltd (hereafter referred to as TAGE) is a high-tech enterprise focussed on the research and development of autonomous driving technology for open-pit mining vehicles. Open-pit mining is regarded as one of the most ideal applications for autonomous driving technology implementation as it involves a relatively restricted area where vehicle speed is low and the transportation routes are well managed. As such, we took the unmanned robotic mining truck as our chosen breakthrough point, to try to help to solve the long standing issues with open-pit mining haulage such as frequent accidents, driver recruitment difficulty and persistently high cost. And we have achieved a lot so far – our system has already been successfully implemented in the Bayan Obo iron ore and rare earths mine (Baogang Group) and the Huolinhe coal mines (SPIC) in Inner Mongolia. 

踏歌智行创始人兼CEO——余贵珍

外媒:似乎中国主要的采矿设备制造商最近都还在致力于开发他们自主的无人化解决方案,而行业如今却是由独立的方案提供商在主导,这是什么原因造成的呢?
余贵珍:
露天矿无人运输解决方案是个复杂的系统,该系统不仅需要车辆技术,还需要自主驾驶技术、调度与车队管理技术、车辆通信技术等。建立以上所有这些能力对中国传统的采矿设备制造商来说是一个艰巨的挑战。这就是为什么在中国,既拥有先进自动驾驶技术,又和设备制造商紧密合作的独立厂商更具竞争力的原因。 
Interviewer :
It seems only recently the major mining equipment OEMs in China were working on their own autonomy solutions, but now independent players are dominating…what has changed?
Yu Guizhen:Unmanned transportation solutions for open-pit mines involve complex systems requiring not only vehicle technology, but also autonomous driving technology, dispatching and fleet management technology, and vehicle communication technology. To independently build all those capabilities into one platform is a tough challenge for the Chinese traditional mining equipment OEMs. This is why independent players with advanced autonomous driving technology but working in close cooperation with the OEMs are in a more competitive position to deliver open-pit mine unmanned transportation solutions in China. 

外媒:中国这些独立无人驾驶系统技术提供商的竞争似乎非常激烈,其他几家公司也很活跃,你认为是什么原因让踏歌智行从这类企业中脱颖而出?
黄立明:
首先是系统完整性。踏歌智行是中国最早从事露天矿区无人化运输方案开发设计并投入实际运行的公司,到目前为止,拥有完整的解决方案以及成熟的产品系列(product portfolio),包括车载终端系列产品、智能路测单元、以及云控平台产品;其中车载终端系列产品包括无人矿卡车载终端产品、推土机车载终端产品、挖掘机车载终端产品、破碎站终端产品、路测单元产品、外来车辆终端产品等。
然后是需求适配性。中国露天矿区运输工艺复杂, 中国更甚,踏歌智行在无人矿卡的智能化、网联化以及云控平台集中调度的智能化基础上,在产品设计方面与矿区运输工艺进行了无缝衔接,以此来支撑全场景的运输作业流程以及商业化运营。
产品与系统可靠性。踏歌的车载终端产品按照车规级要求设计,满足矿区严苛环境下(低温、振动等)的运行可靠性要求;踏歌实现了多重冗余安全设计,主要包括车载终端主控安全控制冗余、无线通信链路冗余、云控平台双机热备冗余等。
最后,工程设计能力。踏歌智行的露天矿区行业专家具有丰富的工程设计经验,在矿区的无人化运输工程设计与系统仿真验证方面已经积累了不少经验。
 Interviewer :The market for these independent autonomy system tech providers seems very competitive in China; several other companies are also active – what would you say makes TAGE Idriver stand out from the rest?
Huang Liming:First I would say system integrity. As the earliest player engagedin the development of unmanned transportation solutions for open pit mining andthe first to put them into practical operation in China, TAGE has delivered complete solutions and has a mature product portfolio including OBU (OnboardUnit) product series, RSU (Road Side Unit) and Cloud Control Platform. The OBU product series includes unmanned mine truck terminal products, bulldozer vehicle terminal products, excavator vehicle terminal products, crushing station terminal products and external on-road vehicles terminal products.
Then there is functional adaptability. Open-pit mine transportation is complex, especially in China. On the basis of intellectualization and interconnection of the unmanned mine trucks and the cloud based dispatching control platform, TAGE’s products seamlessly connect every step of mining transportation process, so as to make the system capable of working in an actual operational scenario, which is extremely critical for commercial implementation.
Then there is system reliability and multiple safety aspects. TAGE’s OBU products are designed in accordance with vehicle grade certification to meet the operational reliability requirements of the harsh environments (low temperature, vibration, etc) in the mining area. Our system has achieved multiple redundant security designs, which mainly includes CCU (Central Control Unit) security redundancy, wireless network redundancy, cloud platform DHBS (Dual Machine Hot Backup System) redundancy, etc. 
Finally I would mention engineering design ability. TAGE has a vertically structured and expert team in the open-pit mining industry, who have rich experience in engineering design and system simulation verification of unmanned transportation in mining. 

踏歌智行CTO——黄立明


外媒:您认为目前主要的商业潜力是与整车厂合作还是和矿山直接合作,还是两者兼而有之?
余贵珍:
都有,我已经提到过的包钢和国家电投都是矿业客户,与此同时我们也与国内顶级的采矿设备制造商如北方股份(NHL)、徐工集团和陕西同力等进行密切的合作。
Interviewer  Is the main potential currently working with equipment OEMs or the mines directly, or both?
Yu GuizhenBoth, I have mentioned already Baogang and SPIC as mining customers we have ongoing projects with and we are also closely cooperating with top Chinese OEMs like Inner Mongolia North Hauler (NHL), XCMG and Shaanxi Tonly. 

外媒:中国市场对价格非常敏感,怎么能以客户愿意接受的价格向他们提供这些复杂的技术呢?
李庆社:
在中国,普通消费品市场对价格非常敏感,但对于高科技生产设备来说,价格并不是决定性因素。踏歌智行的无人驾驶系统能够为客户创造大量的额外收益,如节省劳动力成本、增加运营时间、降低燃油和轮胎磨损成本等,最重要的是,零伤亡风险。同时,我们的价格很有竞争力——系统的投资回报率对我们大多数潜在客户来说都很有吸引力。
Interviewer The Chinese market is also very price sensitive. How is it possible to provide these complex technologies to these mines at a low enough price they will accept?
Li Qingshe In China, the ordinary consumer market is very price sensitive, but for high-tech production equipment, price is not the decisive factor. TAGE’s unmanned system is capable of creating substantial additional benefits to customers such as labour cost savings, increased operation time, reduced fuel cost and tyre wear cost reduction, and most importantly, zero accident risk to operators. Meanwhile, our prices are still very competitive – the ROI of our system is very attractive to most of our potential customers. 

踏歌智行副总裁——李庆社

外媒:据我所知中国的矿山大多不具备通讯网络和先进的车队管理系统。您如何确保客户的矿山条件满足您的系统在网络方面最低标准的要求?  
黄立明:
 通信网络在中国矿区的部署以及使用比较广泛,一些国有大型矿区都已经部署了4G无线专网,从而实现了有人驾驶条件下的卡车调度与车队管理;面对无人驾驶在中国露天矿区的落地实施,在矿区无线网络基础设施建设方面,4G无线专网或5G网络都会被作为新矿建设和旧矿升级改造的主要的组网手段,为无人运输提供通信服务;这方面中国也有很好的上下游生态系统,通信设备制造公司以及通信服务运营商都在积极跟我们合作,共同推动无人运输落地。
Interviewer Chinese mines are not known for having extensive comms networks or using the latest fleet management systems. How do you ensure your mining customers meet the minimum standards your systems need to work in terms of networks?
Huang Liming When it comes to telecommunication, China has a good upstream and downstream ecosystem, and wireless communication networks have been widely deployed in mining areas in China. Some large state-owned mining areas have already deployed 4G wireless private networks, so as to realise fleet management and video monitoring under manned transportation conditions. Along with the rapid introduction of unmanned transportation in China’s open-pit mining areas, 4G private networks or 5G networks have been mainly chosen as the mainstream choices for new mining area construction and existing mining area network upgrades. Currently, the major equipment manufacturers and communication service operators are actively cooperating with us to promote unmanned transportation and 5G. 

外媒:中国的矿山目前正在广泛试验LTE和5G网络。您认为会有很多矿山直接采用这些最新技术吗?
黄立明:
如我前面提到的,中国的通信技术发展迅速,中国政府不遗余力地推进“新基础设施建设”的宏观战略。在这样的有利环境下,许多矿区已经开始推广5G示范项目,我们也在一个现有项目中进行了5G技术的示范应用。”
Interviewer Are Chinese mines now widely trialling LTE and 5G networks? Do you think many mines will go straight to these latest technologies?
Huang LimingAs I said, telecommunication technology in China is developing rapidly. China’s Government has spared no efforts to promote the macro strategy of ‘New Infrastructure Construction’. In this positive environment, many mine areas have begun promoting 5G demonstration projects, and TAGE has also carried out 5G demonstration implementation at one of our unmanned transportation projects. 

外媒:中国的井工矿是否也有无人化的潜力?这部分有何进展? 踏歌智行是否也进入了这一块市场?
余贵珍:
中国有大量的井工矿,但多数的主要运输工具不是机械牵引,而是使用传送带、箕斗运输等。据我所知,很多井工矿无人运输设备也在实验中,但踏歌智行目前只专注于露天矿。
Interviewer Is there potential for autonomous mining in Chinese underground mines and is this something already happening? Is it a market TAGE Idriver is involved in yet?
Yu GuizhenChina has a large number of underground mines but in many of them mechanised hauling with mobile vehicles is not the major means of transportation – many of these mines instead use conveyors, skip haulage, etc. But we are aware that a variety of autonomous transportation equipment types are being experimented with in Chinese underground mining, however, TAGE is currently focusing on the open-pit mining industry only. 

外媒:您认为你们的系统与CAT、小松、日立和ASI等国际公司提供的系统有何不同?
黄立明:
首先,踏歌智行的系统方案是基于中国矿区的环境和运输工艺要求而设计,在具体技术实现的难度上会比国外同行更大也更复杂。为保证在矿区日常运输的连续、高效、可靠,需要综合考虑矿卡的多种驾驶模式无缝切换(如无人驾驶切换有人驾驶或遥控驾驶等),以此来适应中国矿区的一些特殊运输工艺要求。
其次,中国矿区车辆型号差异较大,既有各种品牌和型号的矿卡也有宽体自卸车,车载终端需要适配更多种类车型的控制要求,针对部署宽体自卸车的矿区,少则几百辆,多则上千辆,在云控平台集中调度管控方面难度大。
最后,中国的矿区有着巨大的矿卡存量市场,老车改造成无人驾驶有着巨大的市场潜力,踏歌智行在这方面已经有了成熟的工程经验以及成功的商业化应用。
Interviewer How would you say your system differs from those offered in the global market by Cat, Komatsu, Hitachi and ASI?
Huang LimingTo start with, TAGE’s system designs are based on China’s unique mining area circumstances and transportation process requirements, which are often more difficult and more complex than the mining situations in which overseas counterparts are working. In order to ensure continuity, efficiency, and reliability, we must consider in our offering allowing switching between various driving modes (such as from manned to unmanned or to remote control etc) so as to adapt to the unique characteristics of China’s mining areas. 
Secondly, the vehicle models utilised in China’s mining areas are quite diverse. There are many brands and types of rigid mine trucks but also many types of non-rigid wide-body dumpers, sometimes called tipper trucks, in China, so our OBUs have to adapt to the control characteristics of various truck models to serve the different customers. In the mining areas where wide-body dumpers are deployed, there are usually hundreds of them in the fleet and sometimes more than a thousand, which places harsh requirements in terms of capacity and reliability on the cloud-based dispatching and control system. 
Finally, there are a large number of existing mine trucks in China, so to offer autonomous modification solutions ie retrofits for those existing trucks has huge commercial potential. We have already accumulated rich engineering experience and made considerable commercial progress in this field.
 
外媒:是什么原因让中国的大型矿业集团开始关注无人化,主要是为了提高安全性还是生产效率,抑或两者兼有?
余贵珍:
这两点都很重要,但安全可能是最重要的。因为中国政府颁布了严格的法律法规,对矿山安全管理制定了严厉的要求。
Interviewer What is making big mining groups in China look at automation, is the major push a drive towards safety or productivity, or both?
Yu GuizhenBoth. Productivity is obviously important, but safety is probably the top concern as the Chinese Government has issued strict legal rules that impose stringent safety requirements on mine management. 

外媒:我从报道中看到大多数中国的无人驾驶运输车队似乎都是在做闭环试验——中国矿山是否真的开始在日常生产中使用无人驾驶车队?
李庆社:
我国的矿用车辆无人驾驶运输起步较晚。整个行业仍处于从小批量试运行到大规模商业实施的过渡阶段。作为中国最早一批取得无人驾驶商业合同的领先企业,踏歌智行在技术成熟度和用户接受度方面都处于行业前列。我们在2019年实现了白云鄂博铁矿多编组无人作业,到2020年底,该矿全部矿用卡车完成无人改造,全矿实现无人运输。至于宽体自卸车,我们最近在鄂尔多斯的煤矿签订了一份200台无人自卸车的合同。该项目将在两年内完成,首批50台无人自卸车将于2020年底投入使用。其他一些合同也在谈判中。所以我们可以说大规模的商业实施阶段已经开始了。
Interviewer Most of the Chinese examples of autonomous fleets I have read about seem to be closed loop trials – are any Chinese mines actually using autonomous fleets in normal production yet?
Li qingsheThe attempts at unmanned transportation of mining vehicles in China started much later than that in other countries. The whole industry is still in the transformation stage from small batch trial operations to large scale commercial implementation. As the leading player and the first to get commercial contracts in China, TAGE is standing at the forefront of the industry both in terms of technology maturity and user acceptance. We achieved multi-fleet unmanned operation in Bayan Obo iron mine in 2019, and by the end of 2020, all the mine trucks there will have been modified and fully put into unmanned transportation. For the non-rigid wide-body dumpers, we recently signed a large contract for 200 unmanned dumpers in the Ordos coal mining region. This project will be completed within two years, and the first batch of 50 dumpers will be in operation by the end of 2020. Some other contracts are also under negotiation, so we can say that the large scale commercial implementation phase is already underway. 

外媒:我没有看到在一些如准噶尔、平朔煤矿和西藏巨龙铜矿等大型项目中提到无人技术,这些项目也会考虑无人运输吗?
李庆社:
踏歌智行现有的客户如包钢、国家电投等都是各自领域的巨头。您提到的准噶尔、平朔、巨龙等大型矿业集团也在关注无人驾驶运输。我们与他们保持着密切沟通,他们已经明确表达了推进无人驾驶运输项目的意愿。
Interviewer  I have not seen reference to autonomy being applied at some of the largest operations like the Zhungeer, Pingshuo coal mines or the Julong Copper mine in Tibet, are these operations also looking at autonomy?
Li qingsheTAGE’s existing customers like Baogang and SPIC are giants in their respective fields. And the large mining groups Zhungeer, Pingshuo and Julong that you mentioned have also been paying close attention to unmanned transportation. We are communicating with them closely and they have clearly expressed their intention to carry out unmanned transportation projects going forward. 

外媒:看起来你们目前的重点是矿用卡车,那么你们有涉及钻机的无人化吗?能否给些案例?
黄立明:
目前,为了保证运输的高效率,我们只在矿用卡车上开发和部署了无人系统。对于钻机、挖掘机、推土机等设备,虽然仍由人工操作,但我们改造升级了车载设备,使其能够与无人矿车进行定位、通信和交互协作。
Interviewer The focus currently seems to be mining trucks. What about blasthole drill or excavator autonomy – is this an area you are also working on and can you give any examples?
Huang LimingAt present, in order to ensure the high efficiency of transportation, we have only developed and deployed unmanned systems on mine trucks. As for blasthole drill rigs, excavators, bulldozers and other auxiliary equipment, although they are still operator controlled, we have upgraded them with vehicle terminal devices to enable them to locate and interactively cooperate with unmanned mine truck fleets. 

外媒:你们是主要关注大型矿用卡车,还是也在从事小型卡车的无人化项目,如100吨级或更小的卡车,包括在中国矿山很常见的宽体车?
黄立明:
我们目前的解决方案适用于大型矿用卡车和非刚性宽体自卸车。这两种类型的卡车在车辆控制方面主要不同。另外,在矿区使用这两种类型的卡车运输技术流程是不同的,所以我们必须做适应性的开发来满足每一种车队类型的具体需求。
Interviewer On the truck side, is the focus mainly on larger trucks or are you also working on projects involving smaller trucks, eg 100 t class and smaller, including the tipper non-rigid trucks that are very common in Chinese mines?
Huang LimingOur current solution is adaptable to both large mine trucks and non-rigid wide-body dumpers. The two types of truck are mainly different in terms of vehicle control. In addition, the transportation technical procedure is different in the mine areas using the two types of truck, so we have to do adaptive development to meet the specific needs of each fleet type. 

外媒:最近与北方股份签署的NTE200AT新车生产协议对你们而言有多重要?这是你们的系统首次列装于“新车“上而不再是旧车改造,是这样吗?
余贵珍:
是也不是,我们从2018年就开始通过旧车改造在北方股份现有的矿用卡车上实现了无人驾驶,同时也开始联合开发预装无人驾驶系统的线控汽车。今年,我们有信心采用我们已经验证完善的技术在国家电投新采购的NTE200AT 186 t卡车上进行大规模的预装,这将是我们和北方股份的一个新的里程碑。
Interviewer How significant is your recently signed deal with NHL to work with them to produce a new NTE200AT truck – is this the first time your system will have been applied to a ‘new’ mining truck as opposed to a retrofit?
Yu GuizhenYes and no, we started to modify NHL’s existing mine trucks with unmanned technology via retrofit in 2018, and have also jointly developed drive-by-wire trucks with a pre-installed unmanned system. This year we are confident we will carry out pre-installation with our proven solution on a large scale with the new NTE200AT 186 t truck fleet for SPIC, which will be a new milestone for us and for NHL. 

外媒:对于踏歌智行而言,中国之外的市场是否也充满机会?比如中国生产的矿用卡车的出口销售地(例如北方股份和澳洲兖煤的新协议),再或者你们能够为更老更简单设计的卡车提供无人化改造的市场(比如在印度)?
余贵珍:
我们希望携手中国矿用设备生产商,一道为世界各地的客户提供服务。
Interviewer Do you see a lot of opportunities for TAGE Idriver outside of the China market such as where Chinese trucks are being sold (eg the new NHL deal with Yancoal), or where you are able to work with older or more basic truck designs, such as in India?
Yu GuizhenWe hope to work together with Chinese mineequipment OEMs to serve the customers all over the world.

来源:International Mining