Autonomous mapping of mines and tunnels by drones


Drones provide multiple mapping solutions both from the air and under the ground. An Australian startup has developed specialized software for autonomous mining and tunnel mapping.

It is a business founded by former researchers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of the Australian Federal Government, working at the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group. There began the development of Hovermap technology, using a combination of LiDAR, collision avoidance sensors and GPS for mapping underground environments.

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This technology comes as a load that can be installed in drones which are then sent to shipments beneath the surface of the ground in dangerous environments instead of humans. This technology was introduced last year, 600 meters below the surface of Western Australia, where the first fully autonomous, out-of-field, drone flight to a mine under the ground was held.


As the drone passes through the tunnels, the Hovermap system collects data, which is later loaded onto computers to be processed, resulting in the creation of three-dimensional maps of the environment.

The commercial exploitation efforts of this technology seem to have paid off, attracting already investments of $ 3.5 million. Currently, Hovermap technology is at an experimental stage, but the company hopes to make it more widely available before the end of the year.