India’s 1st Autonomous Drone To Fly in Underground Mines

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Squadrone aims to utilize its American and Australian partners’ tech to drive digital transformation and implement LiDAR technology inside mines

An emerging Indian player in aerial intelligence, Squadrone recently flew autonomous drones in underground mines in India. It has become the first company to do so after successfully completing a proof of concept (POC) at Hindustan Zinc’s (Vedanta) underground mines in Udaipur, Rajasthan. After its successful completion, the company said that the application of drone-based Hovermap LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology would bring about a huge transformation in the way underground mines are worked in India.

The founder and CEO of Squadrone Infra and Mining, Cyriac Joseph remarked: “This is a historic moment for us, as we become the first company in India to fly autonomous drones in underground mines in the country. Vedanta helped us facilitate this proof of concept. We also have plans to work with various other mining and tunnelling companies to design and implement innovative applications of this state-of-the-art technology. This technology can be used to improve safety and reduce risks, resulting in more efficient, cost-effective, and smart mining operations.”

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Explaining the LiDAR tech application, Joseph added, “Squadrone assesses the potential of the LiDAR technology in terms of providing 3D mapping of the underground environment and investigating the different applications of the LiDAR data in terms of understanding the geological structure and composition, locating faults and fractures, and inspecting surface features, as well as monitoring and controlling surface subsidence. We also assess the economic benefits of deploying this technology and the potential of achieving cost savings and increased efficiency. The application of autonomous drones with LiDAR mapping can benefit the mines, by providing high-quality data for safety, mine planning and design, subsidence mapping, and providing advanced analytics for better planning and management of underground operations.”

Notably, the aerial intelligence company has collaborated with Emesent Australia to drive SLAM-based technology in the underground mines in India and the Middle East to implement ‘Hovermap’ LiDAR technology. Hovermap is a drone-based LiDAR sensor that works on the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, with equipment for mapping underground workings by autonomous flying in underground mines, tunnels, and remote locations, without any navigation system GPS.

Moreover, it has also joined hands with Strayos Inc, USA for the application of AI & ML driven cloud-based software platform for the specialised application of drones in digital transformation for the operation and control of large open pit mines.

Strayos is a cloud-based software platform to implement AI & ML-based innovative solutions in mine planning and design, drilling and blasting, mine safety, haulage road management, rock mechanics, slope stability, subsidence mapping and numerous other applications in large open pit coal and metal mines.

2018-born Emesent is a global leading company in drone autonomy, LiDAR mapping, and data analytics. Its flagship product, Hovermap, is a smart mobile scanning unit that claims to combine advanced collision avoidance and autonomous flight technologies to map hazardous and GPS-denied environments.

Squadrone Infra & Mining Private Limited is a Bangaluru-based leading company in aerial intelligence in mining & infrastructure. It works in the field of 3D reality modelling, mine planning and design, tunnelling and rock engineering, and AI & ML in mining and infra, among others.


 

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