International news within the industry of mining and metal, Dec, 17 2018
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Drones secure the mine after the blast

Autonomous drones ability to map an unknown environment is one of two missions that the robotics researchers from Luleå University of Technology are involved in under the SIMS, Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems project. The second is to further develop the use of remote control knobs. The pushbuttons are combined with augmented reality to create a more physical and real interface for the operator who controls the machine. Photo: Courtesy of Drone Deploy
Autonomous drones ability to map an unknown environment is one of two missions that the robotics researchers from Luleå University of Technology are involved in under the SIMS, Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems project. The second is to further develop the use of remote control knobs. The pushbuttons are combined with augmented reality to create a more physical and real interface for the operator who controls the machine. Photo: Courtesy of Drone Deploy
Published by
Markku Björkman - 28 Nov 2018

Autonomous drones who inspect hard-to-reach mining shafts after blasting in the mountain will contribute to a safer mining environment. The development of autonomous robotics in mines is led by researchers at the Luleå University of Technology.

After a blast in an underground mine, a dark shaft remains filled with fragmented rock and explosive gases. Before, for example, a wheel loader can come in to pick up ore and mineral, the shaft must be considered safe. The void in the mountain and loose stones and rock blocks must be carefully checked to avoid accidents. This is a job that can be done by autonomous drones and other robotic machines, such as remote-controlled pushbuttons, the first machine sent to secure a space after blasting.

- Drönare can be used for inspection of hazardous environments. After blasting, the autonomous driller can first map the environment before sending people or vehicles, "said George Nikolakopoulos, professor of robotics and automation at the Luleå University of Technology in Northern Sweden.

On the autonomous drunks that the Luleå researchers develop, two cameras are in place to provide stereo and electronics and sensors to detect the orientation. Knowing where it is - is the hardest question to answer for an autonomous vehicle. During the final year of the project, the autonomous drones will be tested in real mines.

- Imagine yourself in a completely unknown environment, that you are blind and at the same time perform a complicated task or simply move away. Where am I? is thus the most fundamental issue in robotics. If we find the answer, the rest will be an easy journey forward. Already today our drones can carry out these tasks in a lab, the challenge lies in coping with the work in reality. In addition, we must ensure that the drones face the dusty and humid environment of a mine, "said George Nikolakopoulos.