The UNEXMIN project is developing a novel robotic system formed by three individual robots for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded underground mines. The Robotic Explorer (UX-1) will use non-invasive methods for autonomous 3D mine-mapping to gather valuable geological and mineralogical information. This will ultimately open new exploration scenarios so that strategic decisions on the re-opening of Europe’s abandoned mines can be supported with actualised data that cannot be obtained in any other way, without major costs. The multi-robot platform represents a new technology line only made possible by recent developments in autonomy research, which have enabled the development of a completely new class of mine-explorer robots capable of operating without remote control. UX-1 will be the first of its kind!
The first prototype will be ready in May 2018 in time for the first test trial in the Kaatiala Mine, Finland. The second trial will happen in September, in the Idrija Mine, Slovenia. Next year, there will be two more test trials for the UNEXMIN’s multi-robotic platform: the test in the Urgeiriça Mine, Portugal and the final, most ambitious one, in the Ecton Mine, UK.
Our role in the project
La Palma Research Centre is actively coordinating Work Package 8 – Dissemination, technology transfer and exploitation; WP8 is facilitating the dissemination of results, awareness raising to the relevant stakeholders, and the transfer of technologies between the robotics, technology developers and raw materials communities. Our main goal is to ensure the diffusion of information regarding the interim and final results, as well as to make sure that the most recent scientific and technological developments in autonomy and robotics research are accessible to a wide range of new users from the minerals community, who can then exploit the technology into new products, applications, and services. An equally important goal is to promote the further development of the proposed new technology line, so that new technologies and services that can emerge beyond the immediate focus of the project.
LPRC is also the responsible partner to develop a research roadmap in order to further step-up the technologies being used in the UX-1 robot, after the project lifetime. This task started in January 2018 and will continue until the end of the project.