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Interview with Tatjana Dizdarevic from CUDHg

“The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.”

The second field trials with the robotic technology developed by the UNEXMIN project are over. During two weeks the UNEXMIN teams have been in Idrija, Slovenia, at the Idrija mercury mine to test the capabilities of the UX-1 robot and to obtain data from the flooded mine that would be impossible to get otherwise. Tatjana Dizdarevic, from CUDHg, the public institution owning the mine rights, talks about the experience of having the UX-1 robot surveying the flooded part of Idrija mine and what benefits does it bring to the future of the Idrija mercury mine, an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Luís Lopes, LPRC: Do you feel the trial at Idrija was a success? Why?
Tatjana Dizdarevic: The Idrija trials were a success. The robot was tested in very difficult conditions; the transport from the surface to the water level in the shaft was a challenge for the Idrija miner’s crew, but the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials. The multispectral camera for recognizing minerals was successfully tested in the shaft’s water.

As for navigation within the flooded mine, the UX-1a robot dived to the maximum depth of 26,2m of the main shaft. Descent into depth lasted for 1,5 hours and rise from the depth lasted 0,30 hour. The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

LL: What data did you get and how will it be used?
TD: A three-dimensional model of the flooded main Borba shaft in a depth of 190m and another one from the open gallery on the 9th level in a depth of 220m with the obstacles found in it. The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.

The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

…the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials

LL: Are you happy with the results?
TD: At CUDHg Idrija we are very happy with the results! Everythin went as planned. It is now time for the UNEXMIN team to process the data from the dives and wait until we get the final material that we can share with the public that visits the mine.

LL: Were you positively/negatively surprised with something in particular?
TD: Only positively: The work within the project group and the Idrija miners was very positive and friendly. The whole group worked as one. There were no negative effects and happenings during the transport of the robot from the surface to the IX level and vice versa.

LL: What do you think was the most positive point/achievement?
TD: The autonomous dive for the first time of the project!

 

Do you have any specific questions you would like to have answered? Just write them in the comments!

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!

Summary of the first week of the Kaatiala trials

The first UNEXMIN field trials finally started last week (11th to the 15th June). And on these five days a lot happened, with much more to come this week.

On the first day, the UNEXMIN team transported the UX-1 robot – weighting around 100Kg! – and all the necessary equipment to the Kaatiala test site. A base was set up at the shallow part of the lake where the tests are being held to allocate the UNEXMIN team and create its working station.

The next two days served as the last dry tests for the robot, as a preparation for the first official UX-1 swim that finally happened on the 14th. All the necessary sub-systems for navigation and motion (e.g. ballast system, SLS, thrusters, IMU, multibeam-sonar, computer control) were tested on the 14–15th of June in 2 to 5m deep water, and autonomous motion and navigation tests started on the 15th.

During the weekend, the UNEXMIN team moved their base to the deep part of the lake, where the underground tunnels are located. It is in this area that the UX-1 robot will perform its autonomous operations during this week.

Besides the testing, the UNEXMIN team have also been busy with a growing interest from the media, translated in some interviews. One Finnish national TV and four newspapers, and one international TV (Euronews) were present at the site to learn more and share the UNEXMIN project to their readers and viewers!

To keep updated on the UNEXMIN activities at the Kaatila test site, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The trials at the Katiaala mine have finally started!

The time has come. The first field trials for the UNEXMIN technology have finally began, at the Kaatiala mine, in Finland. The trials with the UX-1 robot started yesterday (11th June) and will last until the 22nd of June.

The technological developers involved in the UNEXMIN project are now all together in Finland to progress with the first field trials for the UX-1 robot in the Kaatiala mine. Representatives from University of Miskolc, Tampere University of Technology, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência will ensure that the testing progresses as good as possible and that all the conditions for the teams to work are set-up.

These first trials will serve as a basis for further testing of the robot in a real application environment – Kaatiala is an open-pit mine with an underground section. The robot’s capabilities will also be evaluated and assessed for improvement: control, movement and 3D mapping of the mine walls are among them.

Follow the UNEXMIN accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to be updated of the state of the trials!