UNEXMIN meeting in Tampere

In September, some of UNEXMIN’s project partners gathered in Tampere, Finland, to discuss the decisive approach and specifications for the UX-1 multi-platform robotic system. From this mid-term meeting, many conclusions were drawn which will now be put into practice. In late January/early February, the UNEXMIN team will have the robot’s hull first prototype available. From this point onward, it is going to be a snowball effect: putting together equipment combined with further trialling, testing, and development.

The UNEXMIN team gathered in Tampere to have fruitful discussion on the project development.

UNEXMIN team members discussing UX-1 strategic developments

In order to be fully operational, the robot must have a lot more specific subsystems. Most of these parameters work together and/or are intimately related. For the UX-1 robots, seven important subsystems have been defined:

  • Subsystem Main Component dimensions and weights
  • Perception system
  • Propulsion system
  • Ballast system
  • Pendulum
  • Power supply system
  • Computer

The above subsystems will ensure that the robotic system works at its best, working towards the project’s objectives.

The beautiful view from where the UNEXMIN team was working.

The beautiful view from where the UNEXMIN team was working.

Finally, this UNEXMIN meeting also led to the final decision on how the robot’s pressure hull (outer structure) will look – the subsystems defined in the previous point will fit onto this structure. There have been some internal discussions on two options: integrated pressure hull vs open-frame layout. After some discussion between the partners involved in the robotics part of the project, the decision went to the first approach. This option allows greater manoeuvrability for given weight and space.

The UX-1 robot’s pressure hull will be designed taking into consideration all the necessary equipment it will have to carry in order to do a perfect work during its surveying missions.

University of Miskolc (UNIM) doing some field tests for the UX-1 instruments

Field tests at Rudabánya open-pit mine

The development and designing of scientific instrumentation needed for UX-1 has begun!

The first tests performed by the developer team from the University of Miskolc were carried out at Rudabánya, an open pit mine in northeast Hungary. Hitherto they have undertaken field missions at the old iron-ore mine, with more tests planned in the future. The main goals of these field tests are to investigate the ability, reliability, and application of different geophysical methods and equipment in underwater conditions similar to those UX-1 must overcome.


Test measurement in the lake of the Rudabánya open pit done by University of Miskolc.

Lots of new and essential information and experience has been collected during instrumentation preparation, the measuring process, and the result interpretation and evaluation phase. The selection of measuring methods and the respective development work is continued on the basis of those gained experiences. Laboratory measurements and improvements occur at the same time, in parallel to the field measurements, in an evolving and interlinked process.

The field tests carried out by University of Miskolc are an essential part of the development process of the robot’s scientific instrumentation that ultimately will lead to the instruments the robotic platform will carry during its missions. This is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that is constructing an autonomous underwater robotic system, capable of mapping underground mines and extracting valuable information from them!