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Save the date: UNEXMIN final conference

Save the date: The UNEXMIN final conference will be hosted in Brussels, on the 26th of September 2019! Take this unique opportunity to learn more about the project’s results and its link to European Raw Materials Policies and robotics.

About the UNEXMIN Final Conference

UNEXMIN will hold its final conference on 26th September 2019 in Brussels, ahead of the project’s closing in October. Project results, including the presence of one of the UX-1 robots, will be shown, discussed and demonstrated.

The programme will include high-level discussions on European raw materials policies, support from the UNEXMIN project to those policies and the European industrial innovation, and on the capabilities and future application of the exploration system.

Who should participate?

The UNEXMIN final conference will give a unique opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the UNEXMIN project’s main fields of work: raw materials exploration, mining, robotics, ICT development and others. Therefore, this event is particularly relevant to EU policy makers, academics, mineral exploration and exploitation companies, cave exploration companies, SMEs focussing on geological consultancy and minerals surveying, and robotics and ICT experts from private and public institutions.

Venue

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstreet, 29 I 1000 Brussels I Belgium

More information and registration

Registration will open by 29 April 2019.
To pre-register, send an email to alberto.sanchez@eurogeologists.eu.

UNEXMIN has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 690008. 

UNEXMIN next stop: Urgeiriça mine, Portugal

The UNEXMIN technical teams are on their way to Portugal in preparation of the third set of field trials linked to the project. This is set to happen between the months of March and April in the Urgeiriça uranium mine, Portugal. The novelty of this trial will be the presence of two UX-1 robots to explore and map the flooded part of the mine.

After the first two UNEXMIN field trials, at the Kaatiala mine and at the Idrija mine, it is once again time for the robotic and instrumentation developers to go to the field for one more trial. The third elected place to explore is a closed flooded mine in the centre of Portugal, the Urgeiriça uranium mine, once a very important source of radium and uranium. Here, the team will aim at exploring and mapping the three main shafts and tunnels, representing a more difficult environment to navigate and map when compared to its test site predecessors. Difficulty in operations will be characterised by the presence of two UX-1 robots operating within the waters of the mine: UX-1a and UX-1b.

The next robot UX-1b – from a final platform of 3 working prototypes – is currently being assembled and pre-tested in Porto at INESC TEC’s testing pool. Having two robots within the exploration and mapping platform gives security of operations, while at the same time, distributing the scientific payload through the surveyors, which translates into reduced size, weight and power demands of the individual UX-1 robots: one of the major benefits (and demands!) of the UNEXMIN robotic platform.

Follow @UNEXMIN on our social media channels to keep up with the most recent news on the Urgeiriça field trials: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

UNEXMIN at EMRA 2018

Back in June, the UNEXMIN project was presented at EMRA 18, the EU-funded Marine Robotics and Applications workshop to a specific group of stakeholders, important for the UNEXMIN project development: the robotics community. UNEXMIN receives an heavy influence from state-of-the-art robotics and benefits from discussing the project with experts.

EMRA 2018 took place in Limerick, Ireland, during the 12 and 13 of June 2018. The UNEXMIN project was showcased to the audience on the 12th with a talk that focussed on the overall development of the project, with special focus on the robotics part, and on the field trials. The presentation was entitled “UNEXMIN: Underwater Explorer for Flooded Mines”. Partner RCI was responsible to attend and share the UNEXMIN project with the attendees.

Photo taken from EMRA 2018 website.

Photo taken from EMRA 2018 website.

The UNEXMIN hopes to be back next year for more fruitful discussions and to present more data on the trials with the innovative technology provided by the multi-robotic platform.

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!