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Situational awareness

Situation awareness is improved through enhanced monitoring systems
Situational awareness can be enhanced by technology like the Backsense Network Radar.

Situational awareness is now a key element of many mining safety programs across the industry. As an internalised safety protocol on many mining sites, it serves as an important element of a good risk mitigation strategy. Many companies are now embracing new technology (like the Backsense Network Radar) to support and enhance a mining equipment operator’s situational awareness.

Origins of situational awareness

Back in 1995, Psychologist Mica Endsley developed a model of situation awareness which identified three main aspects:

  • perception;
  • comprehension;
  • anticipation.

In essence, situation awareness can be described as your mental picture of what is going on around you.

Situational awareness involves picking up information and cues from the environment, putting those pieces of information together so you can develop a good idea of what is going on, and then using it to predict what might happen next. That’s where technology can help.

Situational awareness and mining equipment

Operating large equipment safely on a worksite relies upon many things, from site design to appropriate work practices and importantly having machinery operators well informed of where other pieces of plant, obstacles and personnel are in relation to their equipment.

The very nature of large equipment leads to blind spots, not only at the rear, but to the sides and also the front, especially with elevated driver positions.

The ISO 5006 standard for earthmoving equipment addresses the problem of blind spots around a vehicle. It states that in order to enable proper, effective and safe operation the operator must be able to ‘detect the presence of a standing person (of approximately. 1.5m tall), 1m out from the perimeter of the machine.’ Camera monitor systems provide this to some extent, but in difficult conditions, a range of complementary devices are vital to give visual and audible warnings to operators. 

Market leader of safety devices, Brigade Electronics, offer a range of products, when used in combination, will provide operators with total SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

Backsense® Network Radar System

Brigade’s Backsense® Network Radar System is the next generation of radar-based obstacle detection. Due to the number of complex blind spots on a vehicle, a single radar cannot always provide the detection required and numerous in-cab displays for multiple radars can be more of a distraction than a benefit.

Aimed at OEM and specialist applications, Brigade’s Network Radar allows you to connect and link up to 8 sensors to cover large, sometimes complex blind spot zones around a vehicle or machine.

Each connected radar sensor is allocated a unique ID and will transmit data for up to 8 closest objects. With a detection range of up to 30m length and 10m width, it provides a flexible system to meet customer specific requirements.

“in difficult conditions a range of complementary devices are vital to give visual and audible warnings to operators.”

The system provides object detection in CAN (Controller Area Network) message format which may be processed to display data on control panels/displays on the vehicle or used to control aspects of the machine.

The Backsense® Radar units are fully programmable, allowing for individual tailoring of the detection zone to meet your specifications as well as conditional output control for auxiliary hardware such as external reversing alarms or lights. Warning zones can be set to alert the operator as you see fit.

Unlike its competitors, the Backsense® utilises a Continuous Wave Radar signal, the radar of preference for industries that demand accuracy, from military to mining. Superior to its Pulsed Radar predecessor, Continuous Wave Radar boasts greater reliability, range and accuracy, capable of detecting multiple sources simultaneously and is immune to the radar noise and static object interference that can affect other radar systems. As the name suggests, its high-frequency signal is continuously transmitted, and the processing of echo signals occurs simultaneously, ensuring it will always provide you with a more comprehensive and responsive warning system than its pulse-and-process competitors.

Designed tough, the Backsense® Radar is impervious to dust, mud, water and is unaffected by smoke or fog, making it especially well-suited for harsh work sites. 

Backsense® OSD

Multiple radars with individual in-cab displays can cause confusion and also be a challenge to install. Brigade’s latest innovation, the Backsense® OSD (On-screen Display) ECU allows for the use of 2 Backsense® Network Radar units to be combined with any Brigade Backeye camera system. The radar detection data is overlayed transparently along the edge of the monitor so as not to obscure the camera image with the audible warning via the monitor speakers.

Backsense® OSD is also compatible with the Brigade® Backeye® 360 camera system, which provides operators with a bird’s eye view of their vehicle for unparalleled visibility, and the range of Brigade® Mobile Digital Recorders.

IONNIC is the exclusive Australian distributor for the entire range of Brigade® safety products that also includes Backscan®, Frontscan®, Sidescan® and Stepscan® ultrasonic detection systems, Backchat® Speaking Alarms and the world-renowned bbs-tek® White Sound® Reversing Alarm range. For further information or details on your nearest reseller contact us on 1800 724 690 (in Australia) or via

IONNIC is an industry leader in providing a superior range of Lighting, Safety and Electrical solutions tailored to provide for some of the most heavy-duty industries internationally.

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