Posts

The closure of the UNEXMIN H2020 project

UNEXMIN – Underwater Explorer for Flooded Mines – started in February 2016 and, after almost 4 years of progress, ends this October 31st. In the end the project has achieved what it promissed, supported by a multi-disciplinary team of European partners. The outcomes include, among others, the UX-1 prototypes, a new technology line made available to explorer flooded mines in a secure, cost efficient way and a robust and unique Inventory of Flooded Mines in Europe.

However, and despite the official closure of the UNEXMIN project naming, the team will continue to develop and perfect the technology to the needs of the market and customers. For this, a brand new project, that will bring the UX-1 technology line closer to the market is on the pipeline. Also, a joint company, supported by UNEXMIN’s partners will exploit the technology – and it is available for work!

Find below some of the most important achievements of the UNEXMIN project, if you want an overview of what the team has done and reached over the past 45 months.

Please continue to follow the UNEXMIN website for further news, as well as the social media channels. They will be kept alive with information whenever possible: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

Last but not least, the UNEXMIN team would like thank all of those who followed the project, who supported the development of the technology and who contributed to make UNEXMIN a reality and a success story in the European Raw Materials panorama.

For any inquiry, about the project and/or any business opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact the project team through the Contact form.

Time to wrap up and share results

After a 4-year journey, that started in the beginning of 2016, it is now time to finalise the UNEXMIN project. The results and outcomes from this innovative project are being put together, reports written, and the future decided. UNEXMIN officially ends on the 31st of October, but the project is going to stick around – although with a different look.

UNEXMIN has developed three robots, tested the technology in 5 trials around Europe, created a very comprehensive Inventory of Flooded Mines in Europe, produced dissemination material, organised a Final Conference and much more during the project lifetime. The consortium did its best to deliver what was promissed and the results and outcomes prove its success – UNEXMIN was recently considered a “H2020 success story”.

The project will end at the end of October, but until then there is still a lot to be done. Most notably, the consortium will deliver these reports:

  • Physical and VR models
  • Technology brokerage workshop
  • Research Roadmap
  • Project reports

A list of publicly available reports can be consulted and downloaded here.

After the official deadline, UNEXMIN will still be around, although with a different name. There is room and willingness to continue to develop the innovative exploration technology and the UX-1 robots while expanding the market for the technology there will be offered as a service. For this effect, a joint company was already created – UNEXMIN GeoRobotics.

UNEXMIN Final Project Meeting held in Brussels, 25th September 2019

UNEXMIN held its last project meeting on the 25th of September in Brussels, event that preceeded the UNEXMIN Final Conference on the following day. This project meeting put focus on discussions on the current state of the technology and project development as well as on the near, medium and long-term future of the project and the unique technology line developed within its framework.

To kickstart discussions for the day, Norbert Zajzon (project coordinator) made a presentation on the overall state of the project, while each partner gave a short talk on their work and views since Month 1 (February 2016). These presentations and talks held among the partners created the perfect environment for what followed: a debate on the future – both on what still needs to be achieved and what will be done after the official UNEXMIN deadline – of the project, the technology and its application.

On the topic of exploitation of results, one main objective of the UNEXMIN consortium, is to utilise the UNEXMIN’s  innovative exploration technology, based on the UX-1 system, to offer the technology to the market. For this purpose a joint company is already created: meet UNEXMIN GeoRobotics!

During the afternoon the project held both an Advisory Board meeting and a Steering Committee meeting. On the first, a selected group of experts from the robotics, raw materials and technology fields had the possibility to comment and steer the project’s developments – the focus here was on future exploitation. The meeting that followed picked up discussions on this topic to reach an agreement for exploitation among the participating UNEXMIN partners – the consortium is focussed in making the bridge from research perspective to commercial approach.

This Final Project meeting gathered the UNEXMIN partners to bring light on what still needs to be done in the project and on how the future will look like. The official deadline is for this H2020 project is on the 31st of October – but we have good news that we will be sharing soon on further opportunities!

The UNEXMIN Final Conference is next week!

After 4 years of hard work the UNEXMIN project is finally ready to show its results and outcomes. The UNEXMIN Final Conference will be held in Brussels on the 26th of September 2019. Registration is free!

Please come and meet the team and its work – including one of the UX-1 robots!

Find more information on the event, including registration, below!

About the event

The EU-funded UNEXMIN project is developing a technology capable of autonomous exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines. This technology has the potential to reduce Europe’s import dependency of mineral raw materials which are critical for the energy transition.

The programme will include high-level discussions on raw materials policies, on how the UNEXMIN project supports both the policies and European industrial innovation, and on the capabilities and future application of the exploration system.
Meet the UX-1 robot during our demo session!

We have identified a perfect venue for the robot demonstration: NEMO 33 hosts the world’s deepest diving pool and you will be able to watch comfortably the robot in action during the afternoon coffee break. The robot will be launched from the pool on the first floor and then cross a system of different tunnels. You will be invited to have a look at the control room, ask questions, and see the robot in action through the windows on the ground floor.

Why should you attend?

The conference will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the UNEXMIN project overall and its specific fields of work, including minerals exploration, raw materials exploitation, and robotics and ICT development, with cross-cutting discussions that aim at demonstrating the impact that UNEXMIN can have on the European landscape.
The event is particularly relevant for EU policymakers, 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.
Programme

Several high-level speakers have confirmed their attendance and you can discover the full programme here below:

Morning session: setting the political context: the future of mining in Europe

  • European policy context – Daniel Cios (European Commission, Policy Assistant, DG GROW)
  • Aim of the call for proposals – Marcin Sadowski (EASME, Head of sector – Raw Materials)
  • Future of exploration in mining – Helmut Mischo (TU Bergakademie Freiberg)
  • UNEXMIN – aim and outcomes – Norbert Zajzon (UNEXMIN, project coordinator, University of Miskolc)
  • ROBOMINERS H2020 project – Claudio Rossi (ROBOMINERS, project coordinator, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

Afternoon session I: Raw materials & mining

  • UNEXMIN processing and data analysis – Stephen Henley (RCI/4dcoders)
  • UNEXMIN field trials and geological interpretation – Gorazd Zibret (Geological Survey of Slovenia)
  • UNEXMIN Inventory of flooded mines – Isabel Fernández (European Federation of Geologists)

Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities

  • UX-1 robotic functions: testing and validation – Jussi Aaltonen (University of Tampere)
  • UX-1 multi robot platform – José Miguel Almeida (Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência)
  • UX-1 autonomy, mine exploration and mapping – Claudio Rossi (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

Round table discussion on mineral exploration, future and long-term initiatives with panellists: 

  • Massimo Gasparon (EIT Raw Materials)
  • Mike Buxton (TU Delft)
  • Uwe Restner (Sandvik)
  • Kiril Horoshenkov (Sheffield Robotics)
  • Yves Vanbrabant (RBINS)

Important: venue change

Address:
NEMO 33
Rue de Stalle 333
1180 Uccle (Brussels) I Belgium
GPS:   50°47’46’ North – 04°19’02’ East

Registration

Participation in this event is free but requires registration.
Full information is available at https://www.unexmin.eu/unexmin-final-conference
To register, please fill in the form at https://forms.gle/V64vHekSZVbTZmo59

Live-streaming

You would like to attend, but can’t make it to Brussels on 26 September? Don’t worry, parts of the event will be live-streamed via UNEXMIN’s Facebook channel! You can connect starting at 9:30 for the morning session, follow the pool demos online and join us again for the afternoon roundtable discussion. Stay tuned via https://www.facebook.com/UNEXMIN/

Image: A 3D map of a flooded shaft in the Urgeiriça mine.
More images: https://www.unexmin.eu/image-gallery/

Summary of the field tests at the Molnár János cave, Hungary

From the 26th of June to the 5th of July 2019, the UNEXMIN project was in Budapest, Hungary, for the last trial activities within the project’s lifetime. After the trials at four mine sites (Kaatiala – Finland, Idrija – Slovenia, Urgeiriça – Portugal and Ecton – UK) it was time to test the robotic solution in a new environment. For this purpose, a cave system was chosen – the Molnár János cave.

The trials at the Molnár János cave involved using the two existent UX-1 robots – UX-1a and UX-1b – to explore, map and collect information about the flooded area of the cave. Robotic capabilities including movement, control and data analysis, but with focus on autonomy, were extensively tested, with paramount results. The following items give an account of the activities and results derived from the UNEXMIN’s activities at the Molnár János cave:

  • 26th of June (Wednesday): Setting up the test site and preparation/testing of the UX-1 robots. Studying of current maps of the cave.
  • 27th of June (Thursday): The first official dive happened on the 27th of June. The UX-1b robot was used. It was able to dive up to 8m depth and map the main chamber of the cave. This mission lasted for 35 minutes.
  • 28th of June (Friday): Similarly to the previous day UX-1b was used. The robot explored a small portion of the cave outside of the main chamber in a 1h30 mission.
  • 29th of June (Saturday): Three dives were made on this day: one with UX-1a and two with UX-1b. The main chamber and some other smaller parts of the cave were mapped by the robots. In total, the robots were in the water for more than 2 hours.
  • 30th of June (Sunday): UNEXMIN off-day!
  • 1st of July (Monday): UX-1a was used three times during this day to explore the main parts of the cave system. Missions lasted for 4 hours in total. During these tests, the robot used autonomous waypoint navigation successfully – the robot was autonomous! UX-1a managed to get very good camera images from a very warm water (around 23ºC).
  • 2nd of July (Tuesday): Both UX-1 robots were working at the same time in the water, independently, to map and collect data from different areas of the cave. Teamwork!
  • 3rd of July (Wednesday): Three dives, two with UX-1a and one with UX-1b. Autonomy was the focus of these tests.
  • 4th of July (Thursday): Last dives of the robots: one for UX-1a, another for UX-1b. The robots’ capabilities, mainly movement and control, were targeted. During this last day of testing, the robots’ missions lasted for more than 5 hours, when combined.

With the ending of the Molnár János exploratory works, the UNEXMIN project was able to prove across the past year that its technology to explore and map flooded mines  – and other environments – is feasible and a good solution to a big problem: the lack of information from flooded environments. This was a major objective of the project, so the team considers it a success!

Now, it is time to wrap up things, process the data available and present UNEXMIN’s major results and outputs to the public during the final conferenceentrance is free, but registration is required.