Leif Bloomquist writes: "I've been involved in something called the Mining Automation Program, a 5 year R&D effort to create tele-operated and autonomous mining machines. The program just wrapped up, and the world's first totally robotic mine is now in operation in Sudbury, Canada. It's very cool stuff, and yes, in a way, it's a precursor to the robots in "Descent". :) We had to bring together space+robotics technology, wireless LANs, and even virtual reality and video game interfaces. The whole point is to enhance safety by having no humans underground, and to boost productivity by saving the time to travel underground and have one driver controlling a whole fleet."