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Revolutionizing mining operations: Introducing BDO’s AI-powered coaching


Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) technology is growing quickly. It is now being used in many new services, making it more and more available to organizations of all kinds. This rapid development is opening doors for broader applications and offering solutions in various industries, including mining. 

The mining industry stands at a pivotal moment in history where traditional methods are being supplemented and improved by AI. Among these, AI-powered coaching for mine operators has emerged as a game changer, presenting a significant opportunity for major improvement for mining managers looking to increase productivity, improve safety, and reduce GHG emissions. 

BDO has worked with miners on an AI-powered coaching solution to scale up the effectiveness of both the mine supervisor and the mine trainer. The existing coaching has a finite capacity, but with GenAI technology, miners can improve their productivity by giving operators timely and tailored feedback. 

In this article, we introduce an AI-coaching solution for the mining industry: the AI-powered haul truck coach. We also uncover some of the advantages it yields, how it works, and the issues it aims to address.

Industry challenges

Within the mining industry, hauling operations represent a significant area of concern as they are responsible for 27% of safety incidents. They also represent approximately 20% of the mine’s operating cost. Hauling operations are severely influenced by various factors which include:

The inconsistencies in driver skills reduce productivity. However, GenAI-based coaching can contribute to optimal driver performance.

Variation in driving practices, particularly aggressive driving, directly translates into increased fuel consumption costs. Thus, the lack of standardized operator performance can lead to inefficiencies in fuel consumption. An AI-powered coach can smooth these variations.

With the emergence of more stringent regulation in the form of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, mine operators must pay greater attention to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Given that hauling operations contribute substantially to GHG emissions, improvements in fuel efficiency directly result in higher ESG scores. An AI-powered coach can raise haul truck operator performance, thereby reducing GHG emissions.

The solution: BDO’s AI-powered haul truck coach

A strategy for ongoing haul truck operators’ skill development can be the optimal path to address the listed challenges efficiently, paving the way for long-term success. 

While haul truck training can be a starting point, ongoing coaching is proven to be an ideal strategy to further develop and refine a haul truck operator’s technical skills, providing an opportunity to reinforce the skills and knowledge gained through training, and allowing employees to apply what they’ve learned in real-world mining operations and receive feedback for improvement. 

It is essential to understand that effective coaching is an ongoing process that demands continual engagement with every individual operator, extending well beyond single training sessions. Over time, it should also entail regular follow-up and support to help employees continuously refine and maintain their technical skills. 

With the power of AI, BDO's AI-powered haul truck coach can be tailored to the specific needs of each operator, and when performance gaps appear, the AI coach focuses on the outlined areas of concern for improvement. Additionally, the AI coach can efficiently identify each employee’s development needs, offering personalized guidance and support for enhanced operational excellence, fostering greater engagement, and boosting job satisfaction. 

The image below illustrates an example of how AI coaching can provide a personalized pathway and support for employees.

A screenshot of the AI-powered haul truck coach solution, featuring a tailored profile for a trainee with performance details and recommended feedback.

How does it work

The AI-powered coach works by using newly available GenAI technology and by integrating it into your existing IT/OT environment. This is necessary in order for the solution to accurately capture the required data and generate outcomes. Some of the capabilities of the solution include:

  • Acquiring sensor data from haul trucks related to operational parameters, including brake temperature, speed, and gear selection.
  • Providing immediate and actionable feedback to the operator for enhancing efficiency, safety, and overall truck maintenance.
  • Providing actionable reporting useful to supervisors and trainers.
  • Recording operating factors so either positive or negative trends can be identified and corrected or rewarded.
  • Monitoring all performance factors and anticipate changes in overall performance.
A screenshot of the AI-powered haul truck solution, featuring a payload overview graph.

Expected benefits

Implementing the AI-coaching solution has brought about a myriad of advantages, revolutionizing the coaching experience for both operators and employees within the industry. Some of the main benefits include: 

  • Improved safety by providing timely feedback to operators on their driving habits. This ensures that operators are following speed and idling limits as well as using the equipment to the manufacturer's operating standard. 
  • Improved efficiencies by measuring the operator's performance and providing coaching on how to maximize payload and improve cycle times. 
  • Improved fuel efficiency by providing time feedback on RPM to reduce fuel consumption according to the manufacturer's recommendations 
  • Reduced maintenance costs by coaching operators to operate the equipment according to the manufacturer's recommendations. 
  • Consistent performance and continuous improvement through reinforcement.

How BDO can help

By harnessing the capabilities of GenAI, we can usher in a new era for the mining industry, complemented by cutting-edge advancements where mine operators and employees are equipped with powerful tools that help enhance their efficiency and productivity.

Alex Ng, Practice Director, Data & AI

Stephen Payne, Partner, Consulting

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