South32’s Cannington Mine, in Queensland, Australia, says it is supporting Emesent in its pursuit of developing and testing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) scanning and automation technologies in real underground mining environments.
The team from Emesent were recently on site at Cannington with Spot the Robot Dog, trialling Spot’s autonomy development and capabilities in the underground silver-lead mine.
While the technology is still in its research and development phase, it has the potential to guarantee safer outcomes and ultimately transform the way Cannington operates, South32 says. Mining work safety and productivity can be improved by deploying the autonomous capabilities of Spot in various potential scenarios with different data capturing tools, including scanning, video recording and heat sensing, it added.
The focus on site was testing Spot’s capability in ‘post blast re-entry’ scenarios and emergency response. Spot, with an integrated LiDAR scanner, autonomously navigated sections of the mine, travelling through uneven and wet ground without operator intervention and exploring unlit areas. It was able to produce a 3D Point Cloud map of the underground mine in the process, South32 said.
The Cannington team has previously worked with Emesent to help develop industry-leading technologies including its Hovermap System for underground scanning, which is now used in mines all over the world.