A leader in drone autonomy, lidar mapping, and data analytics, Emesent recently announced that it has allowed DJI’s M300 drone to fly autonomously underground, which is believed to be a world first for the platform.
The flights took place on Aug. 4 at the Round Oak Mount Colin copper mine in Cloncurry, Queensland, and were followed by similarly successful flights on Aug. 13 at another underground mine in North Queensland.
The newly launched DJI Matrice 300 RTK (M300) was equipped with Emesent’s Hovermap lidar mapping and autonomy payload to add the advanced autonomy. Equipping the M300 with Hovermap allows the drone to be flown autonomously and safely into GPS-denied or inaccessible environments, such as densely packed warehouses, the undersides of bridges and in underground mines.
According to Mount Colin mine surveyor Ashley Tibbles, the Emesent technology would enable Round Oak to safely access complex locations quickly, and to a high degree of detail.
“Quality data has always been integral to safety and productivity in the underground mining sector,” Tibbles says. “The Hovermap provides an unparalleled platform to deliver this.”
According to Emesent CEO Dr. Stefan Hrabar, the success of the underground flights with the Hovermap-enabled M300 will open up new possibilities for underground mines.
“The M300 is an excellent match for carrying Hovermap underground because of its flight endurance, IP rating, and ability to carry additional sensors such as cameras. This will allow valuable data capture further into inaccessible areas of the mines.” Dr. Hrabar says.
“Robust underground flight technology can significantly extend the capability of industrial drones and will deliver real benefits to the mining, construction and emergency response sectors. We’re looking forward to partnering with customers to help them derive competitive advantage from this breakthrough technology.”
Hovermap, Emesent’s flagship product, is a smart mobile scanning unit that maps hazardous and GPS-denied environments thanks to the combination of advanced collision avoidance and autonomous flight technologies. Described as “uniquely versatile,” Hovermap can be handheld, drone-or vehicle-mounted to map challenging, inaccessible areas. The product has a wide range of applications, and is being used by customers around the world, such as DJI.
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