Tag Archives: mining drones

GroundProbe and Orica collaborate on ‘world-first’ BlastVision solution

GroundProbe, a member of the Orica Group, has launched BlastVision®, a world-first solution that, it says, delivers actionable blast performance insights for optimal safety and productivity.

The crucial data aids in the detection of potential misfires and out-of-sequence firing and in identifying and tracking fly rock, according to the company. Intra-blast monitoring also adds valuable wall control insights, such as monitoring and mapping instantaneous blast damage to slopes and identifying movement on significant structures.

GroundProbe, a specialist in geotechnical monitoring, leveraged the partnership with Orica, a leading mining and blasting solutions provider, to gain information around current blast monitoring methods through interviews with engineers, according to GroundProbe CEO, David Noon.

“Through talking to mine site engineers responsible for blasting on the ground, we identified that many sites were still using quite simple and sometimes unsafe methods for blast analysis.

“Techniques included recording blasts with ground-based camera systems and conducting visual inspections of this footage to determine areas of concern.

“From this, the idea of using drone footage and automated algorithms to quickly identify key areas of interest was born.”

BlastVision takes custom high-speed drone footage of a blast as it happens, using world-first advanced proprietary algorithms and modern AI frameworks to convert the footage into analytics data, according to GroundProbe. Data is then remotely analysed in its custom software platform, with insights swiftly reported back to the site. From these insights, mine site personnel can optimise blasting and monitor the impacts of blasting, improving both safety and productivity, the company said.

The solution has been tested, trialled or demonstrated across over 60 mine sites around the globe, positively impacting hundreds of drill and blast team members across these mine sites, according to GroundProbe.

GroundProbe’s VP – Technology, Fernanda Carrea, said that no other solution provides the range of insights from the whole blast area that BlastVision provides, from start to finish.

“BlastVision provides an increased level of safety, efficiency, accuracy and productivity through our software algorithm automatically identifying key areas and issues,” Carrea said.

“Data is also able to be captured before, during and after a blast, and covers the blast area in its entirety.

“We can proudly say that this patent-pending technology is a world first.”

Exyn partners with drone data capture company EROCK Associates

Exyn Technologies has announced a distribution partnership with EROCK Associates that, it says, highlights the increasing availability of Exyn’s aerial drone and portable SLAM mapping products across critical infrastructure projects and complex mining.

The partnership will make the ExynAero™ and ExynPak™ available to a host of new customers seeking best-in-class aerial autonomy and 3D SLAM mapping for capturing critical data in high-risk environments, Exyn says.

EROCK Associates is a drone data capture company specialising in inspection for major construction infrastructure projects, multiple large-scale operations and emergency responses to time-sensitive situations. In short, EROCK “boldly drones where no one has gone before”, the company says, making Exyn a perfect partner.

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome EROCK Associates as our newest channel partner of the ExynAero and ExynPak to deliver the key benefits of real-time data capturing, safety and operational efficiency in critical industries and mining. By offering world-class software and technology, we expand their capabilities to great levels, enabling them to tap into a new customer base and explore geographic areas never before reached. We aim to be integral to fully autonomous critical infrastructure projects and mining operations.”

Eric Bennett, Founder of EROCK Associates, said: “This partnership with Exyn will unlock a new world of capabilities for EROCK Associates. We look forward, with much excitement, to offering our customers Exyn’s cutting-edge products. A long time in the making, we feel confident that we can meet and exceed levels of safety and efficiency, like never before.”

Exyn’s autonomous aerial robot systems are commonly used for industrial applications such as mining, construction, infrastructure inspection and military surveillance/reconnaissance, Eyxn says. With this new distribution partnership, Exyn says it is looking forward to working alongside public sectors to unlock key capabilities of robotic 3D mapping.

Emesent unveils ‘new standard’ in survey-grade autonomous LiDAR mapping

Emesent, today, unveiled Hovermap ST, the latest version of its leading Hovermap autonomy and mapping payload, at the SME MineXchange Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The tough, lightweight, IP65 rated Hovermap ST includes Emesent’s new automated ground control feature.

This powerful combination is poised to set the standard for survey-grade autonomous LiDAR mapping in challenging environments, it said.

Since its 2019 launch, Hovermap, the company says, has made significant impacts in mining and other verticals, earning a reputation for its versatility, ease of use and mapping data quality. With thousands of hours of autonomous flight logged by customers around the world, it is the most proven LiDAR mapping and autonomy solution for challenging GPS-denied environments, Emesent claims.

Hovermap ST with the ground control feature builds on this reputation with significant improvements, allowing autonomous data capture in even harsher environments and for a wider range of use cases.

“We’re excited to be providing our customers with a new robust and reliable autonomous mapping tool for challenging environments, including those that were previously not well suited to SLAM-based mapping,” Emesent CEO and Co Founder Dr Stefan Hrabar, said.

Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) based systems have proved their value for rapid mapping of complex environments, but achieving survey grade accuracy and repeatability has been a challenge in some environments. Surveyors were faced with a compromise between fast data capture and data accuracy, depending on the job requirements, the company said.

“This is no longer the case with Hovermap ST and the automated ground control feature, as the feature enhances the SLAM solution to remove SLAM drift and produce survey grade, georeferenced point clouds,” Emesent said

“This is a huge step forward for mobile mapping, providing unrivaled SLAM accuracy and workflow efficiencies,” Dr Hrabar added.

Emesent ground control targets are placed in the environment and captured in a continuous scan with Hovermap ST. There is no need to stop or place Hovermap on the targets, ensuring the capture process remains as efficient as before. The targets are automatically detected by Emesent’s SLAM processing engine and used to both improve the SLAM result and automatically georeference the point cloud to the control points. The process includes automated constellation matching between detected targets and known survey coordinates, eliminating cumbersome manual work which can introduce errors.

Hovermap ST features a lightweight, IP65 weather sealed design, a powerful embedded computer for autonomy and mapping, and an accessory expansion port to further enhance its capabilities. The rotating LiDAR produces up to 600,000 points per second in dual return mode, covering a near spherical field of view.

Hovermap’s Tap-to-Fly autonomy feature enables Guided Exploration in previously inaccessible areas beyond line of sight and communication range. The omni-directional collision avoidance and smart Return-To-Home functions ensure assets are kept safe and valuable equipment isn’t damaged or lost, Emesent says.

Delta Drone to run UAV surveying, mapping at Anglo’s Mogalakwena

Australia-based drones-as-a-service provider, Delta Drone International Ltd, is expanding its enterprise mining operations after being appointed by Rustenberg Platinum Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum, to provide surveying and mapping services at the Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

The contract, secured via Delta Drone’s Rocketmine brand, will see it manage end-to-end mine surveying and mapping services at the mine, including blast monitoring and inspection services. The 2021 contract is expected to generate some A$120,000 ($87,919) in revenue.

Mogalakwena’s PGM production increased by 11% year-on-year to 308,400 oz in the June quarter, owing to higher concentrator throughput, and no COVID-19 impact on production, Anglo American Platinum reported today.

Exyn Tech to bring autonomous drones to Africa with help of OPTRON

Exyn Technologies has announced a partnership with OPTRON, a leading supplier of the latest geospatial technology in the African market, as its first ever distributor in Africa.

Together, this partnership will highlight the availability of Exyn’s underground drone products in the African market to bring safer working conditions for the local mining industry, the company said.

The ExynAero, an autonomous and self-piloting aerial drone, was the industry-leading product that helped open the door to the relationship, according to Exyn. The company’s full-stack solution enables flexible deployment of single or multi-robots that can intelligently navigate and dynamically adapt to complex environments in real-time.

With OPTRON supplying and supporting products in most countries across sub-Saharan Africa, directly and indirectly with the assistance of a select network of resellers and agents, it is perfectly positioned to help Exyn expand its product across the continent, Exyn said.

Sean Dane, Head of New Business Technology & Development at OPTRON, said: “We are excited to be part of the Exyn dealer network. Their ground-breaking autonomous drone system is the ideal solution to safely and easily capture accurate 3D data in the hazardous underground mining environment.”

Exyn says it brings a new level of autonomy never before seen in Africa, as well as new portable mapping solutions available in the African market, more efficient and safer mapping practices, easy-to-use high tech tools, beyond-line-of-sight data capture, and increased workflow and on-site data processing. These features will enhance suitability for the underground mining environment, and infrastructure inspection and maintenance, and will offer increased safety to mining operations.

Nader Elm, CEO & Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, said: “We’re excited to be expanding into new markets by replacing legacy technology with a simple, autonomous solution. Safety is the number one concern in mining and I’m confident that, through our partnership with OPTRON, we’re one step closer to achieving fully autonomous mining operations.”

Exyn’s underground drones to get more Canadian air time with NSS agreement

Exyn Technologies, a pioneer in autonomous aerial robot systems for complex, GPS-denied industrial environments, has announced a partnership with NSS (Northern Survey Supply) to distribute Exyn’s underground drone products in the Canadian market through NSS Canada.

Canadian underground mining companies looking for ways to increase safety and efficiency by using cutting-edge autonomous robots now have a viable solution for their needs, Exyn said.

“Exyn offers a full-stack solution that enables flexible deployment of single or multi-robots that can intelligently navigate and dynamically adapt to complex environments in real time,” it explained.

ExynAero, an autonomous and self-piloting aerial drone, operates using a high level of autonomy (Autonomy Level 4) to access complex, GPS-denied environments, predominantly within the mining industry. It replaces legacy CMS systems for safer and more efficient workflow.

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, said: “We’re proud to expand our worldwide footprint with this partnership by empowering surveyors with a suite of highly accurate cavity monitoring tools. More Aeros & Paks in the field means more safety for mine workers in Canada and beyond.”

The thematic synergy of the partnership can be seen in the prioritisation of safety and efficiency from both companies, they said.

NSS Canada provides tools and solutions, such as MOSS (Miner Operated Survey System), to ensure underground procedures can be done safer, faster and with more accuracy. ExynAero autonomous drones, meanwhile, allow data to be collected without humans subjecting themselves to potentially hazardous locations and situations.

“The partnership allows mining customers to benefit from comprehensive underground aerial 3D mapping with progressive visualisation that increases overall transparency of mining operations – including for GPS-denied, hard-to-reach, or hazardous areas, or locations that would be time-consuming to survey and inspect using conventional methods,” the companies said.

Bruno Lalonde, President, NSS Canada: “NSS Canada believes in the rapid adoption of cutting-edge technologies that can revolutionise the mining industry by increasing safety, speed, and accuracy. Exyn Technologies is a pioneer in the industrial drone space, whose autonomous drone technology reduces the possibility of human error in potentially dangerous environments. Our mutual dedication to safety and innovation through technology is why we believe this is the perfect partnership!”

Freespace Operations’ Callisto to soar higher in mining drone space

Victoria, Australia-based Freespace Operations has recently customised its drone technology to address some of the challenges associated with modern mining, resulting in the production of its Callisto Modular Industrial Multirotor.

The Callisto is an autonomous modular and multipurpose industrial drone with benefits for the resources sector including increased productivity and worker safety.

Freespace Operations Managing Director, Ken King, said: “The Callisto was designed from the ground up to be an industrial system prioritising function over form,” he said. “It’s overall levels of performance and capability exceed all other comparable systems currently available.”

King says the Callisto completes aerial surveying using advanced LiDAR sensor technologies previously only available with manned aviation. It can also deliver cargo across sites and lift product out of mines autonomously.

“The result is increased productivity because tasks can be completed quicker, with precision repeatability and without the need to place people in risky environments,” he said.

According to King, the drone system offers most benefit at sites that are remote and face logistical challenges like poor weather, undulating topography, dense vegetation and poor access.

“The Callisto has been designed for typical mine sites, so safety, durability and serviceability are built into the system,” he said. “At IMARC Online we’ll be demonstrating the Callisto to companies that undertake LiDAR aerial surveying and require long-range cargo delivery.”

IMARC Online is on now until November 27, 2020.

Percepto’s Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring platform receives funding boost

Percepto has announced a strategic investment of $45 million in funding to, it says, launch a transformative solution for remote, fully autonomous, asset monitoring, inspection and compliance of industrial sites.

The financing, led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, with contributions from new investors State of Mind Ventures, Atento Capital, Summit Peak Investments and Delek-US, plus existing investors U.S. Venture Partners, Spider Capital and Arkin Holdings, brings the total investment in the company to $72.5 million.

Percepto’s Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring (AIM) platform sets a new standard for how critical infrastructure and assets are monitored, end-to-end, paving the way for the remote operations centre of the future, according to the company.

“Operating a fleet of third-party robots alongside their autonomous Sparrow drone, Percepto AIM provides visual data management and analysis to report trends and anomalies and to alert of risks,” it said. “Any member of staff can request data and Percepto AIM will deploy the most suitable robot independently without human accompaniment to retrieve and stream the required data. The platform also seamlessly reports to assess risk, minimise downtime, drive efficiency and reduce operational costs without human intervention.”

Dor Abuhasira, CEO and Co-Founder Percepto, said: “Our customers, which include some of the world’s leading utility, oil and gas sites, mining and other critical infrastructure facilities, are eager to fully embrace automation across their operations and reap the benefits of driving efficiency, reducing costs and safeguarding staff. We’re excited to be the first to empower our customers with truly autonomous inspection and monitoring, driven by the management of multiple visual robotic data sources, together with other visual sources including piloted drones, CCTV and mobile cameras, on site or remotely.”

Percepto has integrated Spot, an agile mobile robot developed by Boston Dynamics, with AIM for the robot to automate inspection rounds completely, controlled remotely via the platform (see photo). Spot carries Percepto’s payloads for high resolution imaging and thermal vision to detect issues including hot spots on machines or electrical conductors, water and steam leaks around plants and equipment with degraded performance, with the data relayed via AIM.

Michael Perry, VP of Business Development at Boston Dynamics, said: “Combining Percepto’s Sparrow drone with Spot creates a unique solution for remote inspection. This partnership demonstrates the value of harnessing robotic collaborations and the insurmountable benefits to worker safety and cost savings that robotics can bring to industries that involve hazardous or remote work.”

ICL Dead Sea, a leading global speciality potash, mineral and chemicals company, has been operating Percepto’s drone-in-a-box solution to carry out inspection, safety and security missions at its operations at the Dead Sea site, and was the first to fly beyond the visual line of sight in Israel, according to Percepto.

Shay Hen, ICL Dead Sea Drone Program Manager, said: “With Percepto’s AIM, we can now live stream all of our missions and no longer have to be physically present on site to control decisions regarding maintenance and operations. Wherever we are, we know exactly what is happening on site.

“We are looking forward to examining the integration of additional robots, such as Boston Dynamics’ Spot, onto our site for holistic inspection capabilities beyond aerial inspection.”

Exyn Technologies gains Australia mining market exposure with C.R. Kennedy pact

Exyn Technologies, a pioneer in autonomous aerial robot systems for complex, GPS-denied industrial environments, has announced Australia company C.R. Kennedy as its first international distributor.

C.R Kennedy is one of the largest providers of survey equipment for mining and government needs in Australia, Exyn says.

The ExynAero (formerly the Exyn A3R), an autonomous and self-piloting aerial drone, was the product that helped open the door to the relationship, according to Exyn.

Clinton Harn, Head of Marketing at C.R. Kennedy, said: “When discussing with our surveying customers, the real need was a product that would map and navigate their underground caverns, much like what they saw in the blockbuster movie ‘Prometheus’.

“The ability to make science fiction a reality is very appealing, inspiring, and, most importantly, possible – that much was clear after Exyn first demoed their product to us.”

Nader Elm, CEO of Exyn Technologies, said: “We’re excited to be expanding into the Australian market with this relationship with C.R. Kennedy to help a whole new set of customers. The opportunity to continue to advance the technology in the mining sector with this new market is important for the continued evolution of mining and our business.”

In one of its earliest use cases, Exyn flew to Bulgaria to assist Dundee Precious Metals (DPM) in mapping its underground gold mine.

Current CMS would have required hours of setup to map a single stope, according to Exyn. “Equipped with Exyn’s then-A3R, however, DPM surveyors were able to map six stopes over the course of circa-three days, logging 123 flights in total, capturing accurate, high-fidelity data sets ready to be loaded into DPM’s mining software,” the company said.

Exyn Technologies expands mapping reach with two new products

Exyn Technologies has announced two new products to expand its ability to collect data from challenging and previously-unmappable environments, and enable customers to have better solutions.

The ExynAero (pictured) is the latest aerial robot and an upgrade from the previous generation’s A3R™. Fully autonomous, the ExynAero allows for mapping of any environment (including GPS-denied, human-inaccessible, industrial environments without a pilot), keeping employees safe and maximising beyond-line-of-sight-and-communications data collection, the company says.

This new technology builds on Exyn’s previous iterations based on its ExynAI software, which can mesh multiple data streams in real time. The ExynAero is also able to leverage various sensors and platforms that can be merged together via automated software to build a robust and complete map of an environment in real time, even with multiple units running simultaneously, the company says.

Its features include robust 270° view, providing detailed in-depth visuals of stopes in full HD colour, super-bright lighting and LiDAR to provide top acuity, shooting over 300,000 beams per second for highly accurate visualisations. The agile navigation and flight stack improve the ExynAero’s stability and robustness in tight spaces, and the ExynAero can easily transfer data to teams who can analyse it, Exyn says.

Nader Elm, CEO Exyn Technologies, said: “The ExynAero represents the future of data collection across a number of applications and industrial environments. The product is the first of its kind to offer true aerial autonomy.”

The ExynAero can fly itself in the most challenging and unknown environments, collect the data, and merge the streams with ExynAI on board, according to Elm. This allows for maximum data collection and a “radical improvement” in safety for workers around the world who are placed in difficult and sometimes potentially dangerous conditions, he said.

“We’re hoping with the launch of this product, and the additional modalities offered by the ExynPak, that our customers will be able to collect the data they need easily, regardless of limitations,” he said. “The benefits of this will lea

d to not only significantly greater worker safety, but also considerably improved productivity and efficiency.”

The ExynPak (left), meanwhile, provides a new portable format that enables users to unstrap the autonomy features of the ExynAero and capture data with the built-in tools via other modalities – such as hand carry or vehicle mount – for situations where complete autonomy is not needed or practical.

Exyn’s autonomous aerial robot systems are most commonly used for industrial applications such as mining, construction, nuclear power, and military surveillance/reconnaissance. The ExynPak will allow for an expansion of the potential uses of Exyn’s core technology applications and environments to existing infrastructure or transportation modes that don’t require an aerial or autonomous component, the company said.

The Exyn team plans to continue to develop new products that help support mapping and data collection regardless of format, with more products coming out in 2021, it said.