|Title of Invention
AN ON-BOARD PROCESSING UNIT FOR A GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM
|This invention relates to an on-board processing unit comprising a single board embedded controller card (3) for a GPS based truck dispatch system for tracking on-line movement of vehicles, said on-board processing unit comprising an enclosure capable of withstanding harsh environmental conditions; a DC/DC converter (1) for deriving power from the battery of said vehicles; a radio unit (2) for RF data communication with a base unit; and a GPS module (4) for capturing real time geo-coordinates through a receiver.
|FIELD OF APPLICATION
The present invention relates to an on-board processing unit for a global positioning
system (GPS) based truck dispatch system (TDS) for tracking on-line movement of vehicles
like earth moving equipment inside opencast coal mines.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Opencast mining starts with the drilling of large diameter (150 mm) blast holes into the
overburden rocks. Blasting is done with the help of site-mixed slurry explosives for proper
fragmentation of the overburden. The fragmented material is loaded on rear dumpers with
the help of hydraulic / electrical excavators and is clumped in already mined-out areas.
Later, trees are planted on these dump yards. Coal, which is exposed after removal of
overburden, is also drilled and blasted. Blasted coal is loaded by front-end loaders onto
bottom-dump coal haulers for transportation from the face to the crushing plants. Since
coal, as present naturally in different seams, has widely varying properties, they are mined
separately in pre-determined proportions to optimize the yield and quality of clean coal.
In the process of coal mining, two main sub processes viz. removal of over burden and
retrieval of coal are predominant. But most of the effort goes in the removal of over
burden and this has a dominant influence on the productivity. In the process of over
burden removal, two of the equipment viz. rear dumper and excavator play a leading role.
After the schedule of blasting in an specific zone of the mine has been prepared, the
excavator loads the over burden into rear dumpers and each rear dumpers goes practically
through four different machine states i.e. waiting (near loading zone), loading full and
empty (at dumping zone). This sequence of machine states of a rear dumpers constitutes
one trip. Now it may be understood that to monitor the productivity automatically, one has
to monitor the movement of rear dumpers around the corresponding excavator i.e. loading
zone to dumping zone and back to loading zone.
In order to expedite the over burden removal process, real time locations of
mining equipment (especially dumper and excavator) and their status are
required as input to the central base station software so that optimum
schedules can be generated to achieve minimum possible idle time for each
of these mining equipment. Global positioning system technology is
considered to be one of the best technique to obtain such real time locations
of moving mine equipment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION:
Te main object of the present invention is to provide on-line tracking of
mobile equipment like earth moving equipment inside mines using global
positioning system (GPS), especially designed for harsh environment (IP66)
and suitable for mounting on mobile equipment.
This object is achieved in the present invention by providing an on-board
processing unit comprising a single board embedded controller card. Using
GPS technique locations of moving mine equipment and status / production
related information can be captured through on-board sensors and machine
electronics interface. To collect these dynamic information, high-end single
board micro-controller card with multi serial ports and multi digital and
analog input / output port was required to develop application software.
Thus, the present invention provides an on-board processing unit for a GPS
based truck dispatch system, said on-board processing unit comprising a
single board embedded controller card housed in an enclosure capable of
withstanding harsh environmental conditions, a DC/DC converter for
deriving power from the battery of vehicles, movement of which is being
tracked; a radio unit for RF data communication with a base unit ; a GPS
module for capturing real time geo-coordinates through a receiver ; a built-in
fast frequency shift keying (FFSK) interface coupled to said radio unit for
RF communication ; a built-in device driver for capturing payload data from
payload monitoring system of said vehicle ; and a graphical touch screen
(GTS) port as a simple RS 232 C 3 wire interface for tracking on-line
movement of vehicles.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWINGS
The invention can now be described in detail with the help of the figures of the
accompanying drawing in which
Figure 1 shows a system block diagram for the on-board processing
unit of the present invention.
Figure 2 shows the circuit diagram of on-board processing unit card.
Figure 3 shows the photograph of on-board processing unit board / enclosure
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
The on-board processing unit of the present Invention as shown in Figure 1, comprises a
single board embedded controller card 3. The controller card 3 is housed in an enclosure.
The enclosure should be capable of withstanding harsh environmental conditions like the
one available in an opencast mines. The enclosure is of IP 66 grade with mil grade
connectors to field connections.
The unit comprises a DC / DC converter power supply unit 1 for deriving 9 - 12 V DC
power from the 24 V battery of the vehicle. A radio unit 2 is provided like a Motorolla radio
unit for R.F communication: The unit is further provided with a GPS module 4=
The hardware items used in the on-board processing unit of the present invention,
described later in detail, are used for capturing real time geo-coordinates through GPS
receiver. The radio modem provides RF data communication. Device drivers are provided
for graphical touch screen (GTS) display, capturing real time engine parameters and
payload parameters and customized data acquisition system. These can be integrated to
provide remote vehicle tracking and status information.
The following description will serve as a hardware reference document for the on-board
processing unit board. Hardware configuration and interface connector details are
provided in this section. All devices use 8-bit interface only. Please note that information
provided herein pertains only to the on-board processing unit board and not for the entire
The board works off 9V - 12V DC power supply. The board will require a maximum of 200
mA continuous current with no loads connected to the outputs. The supply is internally
regulated to provide 5V supply to the board.
The basic board is built around the 80C188XL processor, which offers an 8-bit bus, and
1MB of address space. Of the 8 serial ports provided 2 are used internally on board, one
for fast frequency shift keying interface to the radio device, and one for the global
processing system device. All other serial ports are brought outside the enclosure.
None of the features provided offer hardware configuration except the fast frequency shift-
All external connections are brought out on two layered screw terminals. The signal names
are printed on the PCB. All the terminals are numbers - the numbering is row wise and the
top (higher) terminals are numbered first.
System Memory Map
The 80188 processor can address a maximum of 1MB of memory. Of these 512K is
provided for RAM and 512K for system flash. This flash is in turn divided into the file
system area and program flash area. All the other peripherals are 10 mapped onto the
8 serials ports are realized with 2 Quad UART devices. These 10 map and connections of
these serial ports are given in the following Table:
Table 1 shows the details of I/O map for serial ports
The host port is primarily used for program maintenance and trouble shooting while
operation and for debugging while program development.
The fast frequency shift keying port is internally connected to the fast frequency shift
keying portion of the board. The asynchronous serial data is first synchronized with the
fast frequency shift keying encoder and then brought out on the terminals.
The selections offered are: Baud rate, which can be 1200, 2400 or 4800 and the data
format. The data format includes number of stop bits to be provided, parity even or odd
and the data length and are settable via jumpers.
The graphical touch screen (GTS) port is a simple RS232C 3 wire interface.
The global positioning system (GPS) port is directly connected to the global positioning
system device. The global positioning system device is setup for the following serial
9600 baud, 1 stop bit, No Parity, 8 bit data.
The connections are available on the special 2 mm pitch connector compatible to the global
positioning system module.
Scada and Spare Ports
These ports are configured for 2 wire RS485/422 connectivity with built in line drivers. Pull
up resistors are provided on board on the output lines. Transmit control is achieved via the
corresponding DTR lines.
The payload monitoring system port is provided for interface to payload management
systems. Additional to the Rx and Tx lines, the RTS and CTS lines are brought out on the
The engine monitoring system port is configured for RS485, 4 wire interface with internal
pull ups. Line driver is built into the board.
Digital Inputs & Outputs
The on-board processing unit board offers 8 optically isolated digital inputs and 8 optically
isolated digital outputs. The inputs and outputs are mapped through the unused 10 pins
on the UART devices. Hence direct operation of the inputs/outputs is not recommended.
The provided DIO driver should be used for the same.
8 Optically isolated analog input channels are provided on the on-board processing unit
board. These inputs should as specified below:
2. Source should be able to provide at least 2V at 4 mA and should not exceed
20V at 20mA.
3. The inputs are loop powered.
4. No series connections of loads is possible.
The inputs are conditioned and fed into a 100 Ksps analog to digital converter with a
parallel interface to the microprocessor. Start conversion and end of conversion signals are
fed into the microprocessor directly. Since the interface is a special multiplexed parallel
interface, only the Analogy IO driver provided with the BIOS/INTOS should be used to read
The software development kit consists of the following:
o Development Tools
¦ TurboC Compiler
¦ Startup files and libraries
¦ Downloading and debugging tools
o Basic interface operating system in library version
The on-board processing unit card is with a basic BIOS which initializes the hardware and
then waits for a host command for 5 seconds (configurable). If no command byte arrives
from the host during this period, the BIOS continues to load the application program at
The program development cycle is depicted in below:
• Edit Code
• Compile and Link
• Convert to Target
• Download / Debug
• Compile and Link
• Any Text
• Watch, Wa04ex
• Setflash/ sendfish
As mentioned before, program development is done in C with compilation with the Turbo C
compiler. Both the IDE or the command line compiler/linker can be used.
The settings of the compiler and linker are important for proper functioning of programs at
the target. These are listed below:
• Directory Settings: Add the \include directory to the include path.
• Library directory should be set to \ clib
• Compiler settings:
> Large memory model
> C Calling Convention, 186 Instruction set, No Floating point
> Byte alignment, default unsigned, Generate under bars
> Test Stack off
> Initialize segments On, Case sensitive link ON
> Default libraries off, Graphics library off
> All projects should include the file \clib\OBPUin.obj.
The stack required by the program can be set by the following declaration outside the
extern unsigned_stklen = 4096.
This declares 4K words of stack. Please note that since stack checking is disabled, it is up
to the programmer to ensure that the amount of stack of required is declared.
Memory models other than Large are not supported by the toolkit.
After the application program is loaded, the operating system hands over control to the
application programs main() function. After this, the operation system only provides the
various services, but is not \n control. Hence, the application should never return i.e. the
main program should not return.
If a return statement is executed from main, then the system will behave unpredictably.
Once the program has been edited and complied/linked, the Turbo C compiler creates a
dos executable file. This executable should now be converted into a format that can run
on the target kit (i.e. on-board processing unit). This is done by the program EXE2PRM
that is in the \bin directory and is used for converting the EXE file into a PRM file. The
syntax for using this utility is as follows:
The first parameter is the name of the executable file that is to be converted. Note that no
extension is to be provided.
The second parameter is the name of the prm file that is to be created.
Note that no extension is to be provided.
The target address is the paragraph in hex where the program is to be loaded.
Note that all programs that are to be flashed should be targeted to (hex) 100. A batch file
CN.bat has been provided in the \bin directory to do this.
The syntax for usage is;
Downloading to Target OBPU - The Host Utility
The next step after the creation of the prm file is to download it to the kit and execute it.
The ST3LINK program is provided for this purpose. A batch HOST is also provided which
basically invokes ST3LINK along with the COM port that is to be used and the bin directory
path. When Host is invoked, it issues the following prompt:
On-board processing unit. Reference Manual Ver 1.0
The user can type various commands. By pressing ? followed by enter, the system
shows a help screen. The main commands are described here:
This commands reads inputs from the port address specified and shows the vaiue in hex.
This command outputs the hex byte to the hex address specified.
This command downloads the prm file specified and executes it on the target. Note that
the file extension is not to be specified.
The F command has been provided for backward compatibility - its use is not
For both the L and F commands, the prm should be relocated for (hex) 100.
This command downloads the prm file and executes it. This command does not require
the prm file to be targeted to (hex) 100 - the target address can be anything within the
RAM area. However, this command has the following limitations:
a. it does not allow programs larger than 32K to be downloaded
b. it works in half duplex and hence program downloading is slower
This command executes a series of host commands stored in the text file
For example, if one wishes to test a new device attached on the expansion bus and it takes
a few inputs and outputs to complete a single test, a script file can be made with the
commands and executed in one stroke.
This command waits for a key press. Normally, this command is used in a script file.
A debugging utility is provided for printing error messages and variable values to the host
screen as well as receive input from the host keyboard to control program flow.
This utility has two parts:
One which is linked into the user program to be debugged
One which runs on the host
The user program should do the following to enable debugging:
1. The dbgutil.obj and dbgtil.obj modules should be linked into the user program.
2. Dbgutil.h and uart041.h should be included in user program
3. Dbgprint() should be called at program entry
4. Dbgprintf() and dbggetch() can be used to send and receive from the host
5. The program should not use the primary serial port for any other purpose i.e. it
should not call the Seriallnit() and the other serial port functions.
On the host side, the Watch04 program is provided in the \bin directory.
This program can be evoked by typing:
All characters typed are sent to on-board processing unit and all received characters are
printed on the monitor. Pressing Q will end the program.
Note that the Host program works at 57Kbaud and the watch program works at 115K.
Several utilities have been provided. These are:
1. Filechk : in the \utils directory. This is used for file system maintenance.
2. sendflsh : for flashing an application program for automatic running after power on.
3. Sendboot: for changing the BIOS with a later version.
4. Formboot: for making a boot image from a prm file.
All these programs are implemented in a combo fashion: i.e. a prm file is first downloaded
using Host followed by execution of the tool on the PC.
File System Utility
The filechk.prm program is the part of the program that is executed on the kit (i.e. on-
board- processing unit) This is to be downloaded before the PC counterpart is started.
On the PC, run WA04ex
The commands currently supported are:
> Format - for formatting the file system, all data is lost
> Mem - to determine the amount of memory left in the file system
> Dir - to see the directory of files
> Copy - to copy files
> Del -to delete files
Other commands are not supported in the current version.
Flashing Application Program
During program development, the system is booted in the debug mode i.e. a serial byte is
sent within 5 seconds (configurable) after power on. The downloaded program is directly
stored in RAM and executed. However, after the final program is ready, the system should
be made to start automatically into the application program after power on,
The flashing utility consists of the setflobp.prm file, which is to be downloaded via host.
Start host and type:
to download the file. The system displays:
Waiting for PC
The user can now execute sndflobp with the following parameters:
is the program to be flashed. Note that the extension is to be specified.
The program reports successful flashing or failure as the case may be.
On the next power cycling, the kit i.e. on-board processing unit will start this prm file i.e. it
will transfer from the Flash to the RAM (instead of downloading into RAM) and run the
Note: An application to be flashed should be relocated for (hex) 100 with the on utility. It
should not be 62K in size, including data and code. If the program is more than 64K, then
the boot bios will be lost and the board cannot be serviced without externaiiy programminq
the flash with the basic boot.
Changing the Boot Bios
If the BIOS is to be upgraded or changed, then the sndbtobp utility can be used. Note that
such a BIOS should not be more than 2K in size. Moreover, the bios PRM file should be
converted to a BIN file using the formboot utility Similar to the application flashing utility,
the setflobp program is downloaded first. Thereafter, the sndbtobp program should be run
on the PC as given below:
The bin file should be specified along with the extension. The system will now boot with
the new code after power cyciina or application or reset.
Converting PRM file to Boot file
The bios program is basically compiled and converted to a PRM file. However, more boot
information is to be added and this information is board specific. The formboot utility
handles this function. The usage is:
The prm file should be specified along with the extension. The program creates a bin
tmpl.bin, which can then be renamed as required. Note that any file with the tmpl.bin
wiii be overwritten.
The invention can be used especially for vehicle tracking & remote data acquisition on
mobile equipment used in mining industry or transport industry. This technology can be
applied to any other remote processing & production monitoring system requirement.
• On-board processing unit hardware especially designed for heavy earth moving
equipment (like dumpers, excavators etc.) used mining industry,
• On-board processing unit hardware based on single board embedded controller
technology with following special hardware and software features:
> 8 Serial Ports (including one port for RF Communication).
> 8 Opto-isolated digital inputs and outputs.
> 8 Analog-isolated inputs on board.
> Firmware preloaded on Flash
> RTOS system in library format
> Real Time extension library
> Application Development in X'
> Development system consisting of re locator, download,
flashing utility and debug watch
> Device drivers for GPS Receiver, Radio Modem, Payload
> monitoring system, engine Management system and
graphical touch screen, fuel dispensing system etc.
> support Interface with SCADA systems as CIMPLICITY, FIX
• On-board processing unit hardware, being embedded system, can be customized to
any remote processing and production monitoring applications with no change the
The on-board processing unit hardware and its software capability provide the following:
Electrically and mechanically reliable operation under vibrating, harsh and dusty
environment opencast mining equipment.
8 Nos of serial ports, 8 Nos. of digital input and output and 8 Nos. of analog input on a
single board micro-controller board i.e. on-board processing unit.
Real time monitoring of location and engine health conditions of mobile equipment or
Built-in fast frequency shift keying port for RF Communication.
Build-in device driver for capturing payload data from onboard PMS system of Caterpillar
Built-in device driver for graphical touch screen to facilitate operator interface.
Built-in device driver for fuel dispensing system to capture amount of fuel dispensed by fuel
tanker or fuel station,
Built-in device driver for capturing drill efficiency indication data of drill M/c engaged in
opencast mining operation.
Acts as one of the basic and important component in the development of global positioning
system based truck dispatch system.
1. An on-board processing unit for a GPS based truck dispatch system,
said on-board processing unit comprising :
- a single board embedded controller card (3) housed in an
enclosure capable of withstanding harsh environmental
- a DC/DC converter (1) for deriving power from the battery of
vehicles, movement of which is being tracked;
- a radio unit (2) for RF data communication with a base unit;
- a GPS module (4) for capturing real-time geo-coordinates
through a receiver;
- a built-in fast frequency shift keying (FFSK) interface coupled
to said radio unit for RF communication;
- a built-in device driver for capturing payload data from payload
monitoring system of said vehicle; and
- a graphical touch screen (GTS) port as a simple RS 232 C 3
wire interface for tracking on-line movement of vehicles.
2. The processing unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein said single
embedded controller card is specially designed for harsh environment,
built around industry standard 80188 core microprocessor and housed
in a IP 66 grade enclosure with mil grade connectors.
3. The processing unit as claimed in claim 2, wherein said card has a
system memory for addressing a maximum of 1 MB, with 512 KB
being provided for RAM and 512 KB for system flash.
4. The processing unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein said GPS module
is set up for 9600 baud, 1 stop bit, no parity, 8 bit data.
5. The processing unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein an engine
monitoring system (EMS) port is provided configured for RS 485, 4
wire interface with internal pull ups for monitoring engine health
condition of the vehicle.
6. The processing unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein a built-in device
driver is provided for fuel dispensing system to capture amount of fuel
dispensed by fuel tanker or fuel station.
7. An on-board processing unit substantially as herein described and
illustrated in he accompanying drawings.
|Indian Patent Application Number
|PG Journal Number
|Date of Filing
|Name of Patentee
|TATA STEEL LIMITED
|RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT DIVISION, JAMSHEDPUR 831 001
|PCT International Classification Number
|PCT International Application Number
|PCT International Filing date