Posts

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 meeting in La Palma: UX-1 and field trials in the agenda

The UNEXMIN partners got together in the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, to discuss and better prepare the last year of the UNEXMIN project, that will officially end on the 31st October. The two-day meeting (10 and 11 of January) aimed at providing a place to discuss the present and future development of the project. The field trials and the production of the remaining two UX-1 robots were at the core of the agenda.

The above-mentioned points were largely introduced and discussed during the first day. The UNEXMIN project already underwent through two field trials (Kaatiala and Idrija) and results from the surveying of these mines is currently in development. The experience gained on both trials will allow the team to properly prepare for the surveys on the Urgeiriça (Portugal) and Ecton (UK) mines, where two and three robots will be used, respectivelly.

The production and assembly schedule of the next two UX-1 robots was also outlined in order to avoid any delays, that might hinder the project development. This was agreed by all partners that are involved in the construction of the robotic platform and work will follow inline with planned.

During the second day, and with the main issues to be discussed out of the way, the UNEXMIN partners had a more relaxing meeting. The future of UNEXMIN was discussed (next steps, what about the future, etc) and a mindmapping exercise, that will help to shape the future of UNEXMIN, was organised.

Now it is time to continue working in order to reach the UNEXMIN project’s objectives!

Interview with Tatjana Dizdarevic from CUDHg

“The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.”

The second field trials with the robotic technology developed by the UNEXMIN project are over. During two weeks the UNEXMIN teams have been in Idrija, Slovenia, at the Idrija mercury mine to test the capabilities of the UX-1 robot and to obtain data from the flooded mine that would be impossible to get otherwise. Tatjana Dizdarevic, from CUDHg, the public institution owning the mine rights, talks about the experience of having the UX-1 robot surveying the flooded part of Idrija mine and what benefits does it bring to the future of the Idrija mercury mine, an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Luís Lopes, LPRC: Do you feel the trial at Idrija was a success? Why?
Tatjana Dizdarevic: The Idrija trials were a success. The robot was tested in very difficult conditions; the transport from the surface to the water level in the shaft was a challenge for the Idrija miner’s crew, but the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials. The multispectral camera for recognizing minerals was successfully tested in the shaft’s water.

As for navigation within the flooded mine, the UX-1a robot dived to the maximum depth of 26,2m of the main shaft. Descent into depth lasted for 1,5 hours and rise from the depth lasted 0,30 hour. The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

LL: What data did you get and how will it be used?
TD: A three-dimensional model of the flooded main Borba shaft in a depth of 190m and another one from the open gallery on the 9th level in a depth of 220m with the obstacles found in it. The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.

The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

…the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials

LL: Are you happy with the results?
TD: At CUDHg Idrija we are very happy with the results! Everythin went as planned. It is now time for the UNEXMIN team to process the data from the dives and wait until we get the final material that we can share with the public that visits the mine.

LL: Were you positively/negatively surprised with something in particular?
TD: Only positively: The work within the project group and the Idrija miners was very positive and friendly. The whole group worked as one. There were no negative effects and happenings during the transport of the robot from the surface to the IX level and vice versa.

LL: What do you think was the most positive point/achievement?
TD: The autonomous dive for the first time of the project!

 

Do you have any specific questions you would like to have answered? Just write them in the comments!

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 at the European Researchers’ Night

From Portugal to Hungary, to other parts of the European territory, the UNEXMIN project was shown during the most recent European Researchers’ Night. This event has the objective of bringing the research that is being created throughout Europe to the general public and the UNEXMIN project could not miss the opportunity.

On the 28th of September – the last Friday of September in which the European Researchers’ Night takes place – the UNEXMIN project was showcased to the communities of Porto, Portugal, and Miskolc, Hungary. The local partners INESC TEC and University of Miskolc were responsible to make the bridge between the project and the general public in an accessible way, in an event that they classified as important to “share our research with the public”.

The dissemination and communication activities of the UNEXMIN project are growing around Europe (and even worldwide) as the project gets into the last part of its development and the trials with the UX-1 robot are on the way. The UNEXMIN project hopes to be present again on next year’s edition of the European Researchers’ Night, and who knows, maybe with a robot to showcase the innovative UNEXMIN technology!

The UNEXMIN project team would like to thank the organizers of the events of the European Researchers’ Night.