Summary of the first week in Idrija mine

The second field trials of the UNEXMIN project are on the way, with the second week of testing starting today.

The UNEXMIN technical teams from Portugal, Finland, Spain and Hungary arrived to the Idrija mercury mine before the trials started. The mine site was prepared beforehand by the Slovenian partners in order to guarantee an easy access to the local of the mine where the trials are occurring. Preparations included transportation of the UX-1A robot down the “Borba Shaft” to the water level, the IX level of the Idrija mine, where the robot is launched into the water – 120m below the surface. The UNEXMIN team also set-up Wi-Fi communications from the surface to the water level. Night-vision and colour imaging plus audio and video communications were established for proper work between the level IX and the surface.

Final adjustments, such as balancing and testing of the UX-1A robot were done in a 2m3 water tank, also in the surface area, before the field dives took place. Transportation of the robot from the surface to the water level was first tested with a dummy weight, and only after that with the UX-1 robot, when the team certified itself that everything was going smooth. The first few dives were performed in a very difficult underwater environment, where a lot of obstacles, confined space and lack of visibility – only of a few tens of centimeters – proved a challenge to the technical teams and to the robot itself.

On Saturday, the robot dived until the mark of 7.5m depth in the water level, but with an umbilical cable for security reasons. On this same day the first multispectral tests were also done in the mine water. The next step on the Idrija trials will be to test the technology without the need of a cable, which will prove the autonomous behavior of the UNEXMIN technological solution – one of the main aims of this research and innovation project. This will represent a big leap in the project’s development, and the team is confident that autonomy will be possible to achieve during this week.

To keep updated with the trials at the Idrija mine, follow UNEXMIN on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn!

The UNEXMIN second field trials have started

The second UNEXMIN field trials have just started in the Idrija Mercury Mine in Slovenia. The trials will last for two weeks and will serve to further test and improve the movement, mapping and data acquisition techniques of the UX-1 robot.

The UX-1 robot has safely arrived to Idrija during the weekend. It is now inside the Idrija Mercury Mine, in the shaft Borba. This old flooded mining shaft is located 120m below the surface.

Preparations started with setting-up the communication equipment and control station. First, the robot will be dry-tested in the mine in order to make sure that all the equipment is ready. After, UX-1 will be transported to the water level, at approximately 200m below the surface. At this point, it will be launched into the water to explore the flooded underground parts of the 500 years old mine in Idrija!

Make sure to follow the UNEXMIN social media channels Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to learn about the most recent developments at the Idrija test site!

The Idrija trials are starting next week

The many UNEXMIN technical teams responsible for the development of the UX-1 robot are now on their way to Slovenia, where the second trials with this innovative technology will take place. The UNESCO Heritage Idrija Mercury Mine is the final destination.

After the success that were the first field trials for the UNEXMIN project, at the Kaatiala mine, in Finland, the UNEXMIN team is now prepared for the second of four trials in European flooded underground mines. In the Idrija Mercury Mine, the UX-1 robot will find narrow tunnels to navigate and map, reason why this mine was chosen as the second test site. This will allow the UNEXMIN team to make improvements on the robot’s navigation and control capabilities, among others, that are essential for the success of the technology and the project itself.

Between the Kaatiala and the Idrija trials, the UNEXMIN technical teams have been actively working to improve the robot’s capabilities with the data gathered from the first test site. More on this can be consulted on D7.2 – Kaatiala report.

The Idrija trials will run for two weeks, from the 10th to the 21st of September, so make sure to follow our social media channels Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep with all the necessary information and footage about the UX-1 dives!

Summary of the second week of the Kaatiala trials

The first field trials with the UX-1 robot are finished. The two-weeks trial ended on the 22nd of June with the robot’s capabilities being extensively tested on a real-life environment: a flooded mine. After the summary of the first working week at the Kaatiala mine site, the remarks of the second week are finally here. Read all about it below, alongside with some nice footage from the work done over the last working week!

On the 16th, the UNEXMIN team had to move its camp and respective working station to the northern part of the Kaatiala lake where the waters go deeper. It is at this site that the entrances to the underground flooded workings – perfect to test the UX-1 robot – could be found.

Then, with everything set-up accordingly, the researchers passed the next three days doing multiple dives with the robot, where UX-1 entered and navigated the underground tunnels. Divers previously placed calibration objects in the tunnels to help with testing UX-1 capabilities: navigation, movement, control, mapping, amonst others.

The tests allowed the UNEXMIN team to test different navigation sensors such as UV and SLS imaging units, multispectral camera, acoustic cameras and laser scanners. These instruments are essential to gather spatial and geoscientific data. The robot’s movement and control was tested by making it pass through the underground tunnels that included a always hazardous junction (hazardous for an automated system such as UX-1!). The robot was successfully tested a couple of times in this environment, before the week was over and the team had to pack everything and leave.

The success of the Kaatiala trials is evident. The UNEXMIN team is confident in further developing the technology and to optimize it. And that is the next step in the robotic platform development: to use the data acquired from this trial and improve the robot’s capabilities for the next trial at the Idrija mercury mine in Slovenia, in September!

UNEXMIN all over Europe thanks to Euronews

Euronews, the multilingual television network, presents next week a news piece about the UNEXMIN project on their science-oriented program Futuris.

The news item will be based on the most recent trials held at the Kaatiala mine and includes general information and interviews about this EU-funded Horizon 2020 project. The UNEXMIN project is developing and testing an innovative robotic solution to explore and map flooded underground mines.

The Euronews story about UNEXMIN will air during next week, from Monday to Sunday, approximatelly at the following times (Central European Time):

Monday 02/07: 18:45, 01:45
Tuesday 03/07: 13:15, 18:15, 01:45
Wednesday 04/07: 10:15, 16:45, 02:45
Thursday 05/07: 14:15, 17:15, 01:45
Friday 06/07: 11:45, 15:45
Saturday 07/07: 06:45, 12:15, 17:45, 22:15
Sunday 08/07: 10:45, 14:15, 20:45

After the television broadcasting times, the Futuris program featuring the UNEXMIN news will be available in all the 12 languages of the website: http://www.euronews.com/programs/futuris/. Then, a few days later, the UNEXMIN story will also be available on Euronews’ YouTube channels – just search for UNEXMIN!