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UNEXMIN present in the IROS 2018 robotics conference

IROS 2018, the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems – one of the major robotics conferences in the world -, is happening this week in Madrid, Spain. The UNEXMIN project was part of it with some presentations and talks about the project.

From the UNEXMIN project, robotics developer teams (UPM, INESC TEC and TUT) were present in the IROS 2018 conference to showcase their work on the UNEXMIN project, specifically in the development of the UX-1 robot. Focus was on the autonomy, control and movement aspects of the technology.

These UNEXMIN-related presentations, talks and discussions were part of a special session entitled “Raw Materials, Tough Robots”, that aimed at bringing together discussions on the use and development of robotics designed for raw materials exploration and extraction.

List of presentations related to the UNEXMIN project:

  • Mechanical Subsystems Integration and Structural Analysis for the Autonomous Underwater Explorer
  • UX 1 System Design – a Robotic System for Underwater Mining Exploration
  • Design, Modeling and Control of a Spherical Autonomous Underwater Vehicle for Mine Exploration

The UNEXMIN project is currently developing a multi-platform robotic system, after having produced and tested the  capabilities of the first UX-1 robot in two flooded mine sites in Europe.

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!

UNEXMIN team at Porto Follow-up meeting. Photo in front of INESCTEC lab building.

Porto follow-up Workshop

UNEXMIN partners met in the beautiful city of Porto during the 28th and 29th of July.

The reason for this reunion was a UNEXMIN follow-up meeting on the project where every currently running Work Package (a block of the work breakdown structure) coordinator presented a review of the work done until now, and a planning of respective future developments.

There were also many relevant discussions on topics related to UNEXMIN’s overall advancement, such as project organisation and the development of UX-1, the multi-robotic platform.

UNEXMIN team discussing UX-1 developments

The UNEXMIN team discussing UX-1 developments

One of the main points from this meeting was the debate concerning the first prototype’s construction and development. The questions raised about the project’s progress will have a final and determinant answer when UNEXMIN partners meet in Tampere in September, where they will take part in a one-week-work agenda totally devoted to clarify the next steps to take regarding UX-1.

UNEXMIN meeting: autonomous robotic system that goes into the sea floor.

TURTLE – a robotic autonomous deep sea lander – made from other INESCTEC european project

UNEXMIN partners also visited the labs of INESCTEC (Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência), one of the partners from the UNEXMIN project consortium, who are specialists in sea robotics, and who have past experience in this field related to UNEXMIN. In the labs the consortium could see and learn how the past and current experience in deep sea robotics from INESCTEC will positively impact the UNEXMIN project and the development of a new technology trend – to have a multi-robotic platform capable of mapping flooded mines that are currently inaccessible.

UNEXMIN team at Porto Follow-up meeting. Photo in front of INESCTEC lab building.

UNEXMIN team at Porto Follow-up meeting