Innovative and Human-centred Design in Underground Coalmining

A new concept vehicle for safe personnel transport.



  • Robert Smith
  • Ashan Perera
  • Peter Farrer
  • Paul Curcio
  • Dr Stephen Jia Wang

Partner organisations

  • Kestrel Coal Pty Ltd (Darryl Grant)
  • PJ Berriman & Co Pty Ltd (Tony O’Donnell)

The new vehicle architecture has an improved occupant layout, access, usability, safety and comfort over existing vehicles.

Professor Arthur de Bono

The research was primarily concerned with a user-centred approach and focused on how the occupant package could be improved by reducing occupant numbers. An interdisciplinary team of mechanical engineers and industrial designers explored new occupant and component package systems with the aim of reducing injury rates and ensure the comfort of workers. The approach included the creation of the next generation design specification; benchmarking against existing vehicles; interactive and concurrent design layouts: surface form and structural experiments; and periodic industry reviews of the proposed designs. In doing so, this project will lead to contributions to the health and welfare of coalminers in regional Australia and in the international mining sector.