Developing science and technology

UNEXMIN is an EU-funded project that develops a novel robotic system, primarily for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines. The Robotic Explorer platform, made by three robots – UX-1a, UX-1b and UX-1c, will use non-invasive methods for autonomous 3D mine mapping for gathering valuable geological, mineralogical and spatial information. This can possibly open new exploration scenarios so that strategic decisions on the re-opening of Europe’s abandoned mines could be supported by actualised data that cannot be obtained by any other ways, without major costs.

Once it is put together, the Multi-robot Platform will represent a new technology line that is only made possible by recent developments in autonomy research that allows the development of a completely new class of mine explorer service robots, capable of operating without remote control. Such robots do not exist nowadays and UX-1 will be the first of its kind.

Major research challenges are related to miniaturisation and adaptation of deep sea robotics technology to this new application environment and to the interpretation of geoscientific data.

After component validation and simulations to understand the behavior of the technology components and instruments to application environment,  work is currently ongoing with post processing and data analysis preparations that are already being developed, while preparations for the remaining two trials proceed. The final, most ambitious demonstration will take place in the UK with the resurveying of the entire flooded section of the Ecton underground mine (UK) that nobody has seen for over 160 years!

Project details:

  • Project starting date: 1 February 2016
  • Duration: 45 months
  • Budget: EUR 4 862 865
  • Output: 3 working prototypes