Nick Larson

RIGID ROBOTICS, in partnership with FPInnovations, recently demonstrated the vehicle-to-vehicle communication capabilities of trackPIN™ and surveyPIN™ in the Malcom Knapp Research Forest in BC, Canada. The purpose of the demonstration was to showcase the range and flexibility of trackPIN and surveyPIN’s vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication under fair to extremely poor conditions, including thick cloud cover, varying elevations, and a variety of vegetation heights and densities. These conditions are significantly worse than the typical conditions found within the mining operations for which trackPIN and surveyPIN were originally designed.
For the purposes of the demonstration, two light trucks were each outfitted with surveyPIN, which has an identical V2V communication module as trackPIN. One truck remained stationary while the other traveled on various roads and measured communication strength.

Demo Results

The V2V communication performed exceptionally well, achieving a range of 535 meters in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) and under the worst attainable conditions. It achieved a range of over 2000 meters with a direct line of sight between the vehicles. This range is more than adequate for the conditions found in most mining and forestry operations.

In subsequent testing, the signal from each truck was amplified using a 10 watt amplifier (under a special Transport Canada permit granted at the request of FPInnovations). During this set of tests, the V2V communication continued to function at a range of 720 meters in NLOS under the worst attainable conditions and over 4000 meters with line-of-sight (LOS) between the two vehicles.

The Need for V2V Communication in Forestry

Eventually, FPInnovations hopes to make use of V2V capability to enable truck platooning for log trucks on log roads. Truck platooning enables unmanned ‘follower’ trucks to follow a manned ‘leader’ truck, with the followers mimicking the path of the leader while maintaining speed and distance. Truck platooning offers immediate cost savings given reduced labour costs, extended maintenance cycles, and reduced fuel consumption.

The V2V communication module found in both surveyPIN and trackPIN is also used to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) communication for data transmission, authentication, and integration into existing infrastructure. RIGID ROBOTICS’ V2V/V2X capability enables the awareness and coordination required for automation/robotics projects.

About RIGID ROBOTICS trackPIN & surveyPIN

Referred to as high precision positioning and communication devices, trackPIN and surveyPIN provide:

  • Precision positioning functionality with up to 7mm of accuracy and high position availability using three levels of dead reckoning/inertial navigation in the event of satellite blockage (such as alongside a cliff face or deep within a mining pit). Optional dual antennas enable precision heading.
  • An industrial WiFi router with 1000m of transmit power to allow data routing, remote maintenance, and connectivity to the operation’s network.
  • V2V/V2X functionality to enable machine-to-machine communication and coordination required for various operator assistance and automation projects.

Additionally, trackPIN and surveyPIN feature an open-API inline with the Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group (GMSG).

trackPIN is offered at a price point affordable for fleet wide deployments on all vehicle types including haul trucks and light vehicles. Examples of trackPIN applications include ore tracking, precision fleet management, predictive collision avoidance, accurate elevation estimations, and more.

surveyPIN’s higher level of accuracy as well as a lightning fast acquisition time makes it suitable for drilling, digging, surveying, and vehicle automation.