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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.

Registration for the UNEXMIN final event is now open!

The UNEXMIN final event is set to happen on the 26th of September, later this year. It will count with a representative array of talks and discussions from robotics, raw materials and policy perspectives. Stakeholders are invited to take part on this event to learn more about UNEXMIN and the bigger European current and future perspective. Registration is free and is now open.

About the event

UNEXMIN is an EU-funded project that develops a novel robotic system for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines. To learn more about these innovative mineral exploration techniques, we invite you to register now for the project’s final conference which will be held on 26th September 2019 in Brussels. At this occasion, 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 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.

Programme

The event sessions are now set and several speakers have already confirmed their attendance. The conference will be split into the following sessions:

  • Morning session: Setting the political context – the future of mining in Europe
  • Afternoon session I: Raw materials & mining
  • Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities
  • Round table and closing session

Who should 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. Therefore it 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.

More information and registration

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

Venue

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences

Vautierstreet, 29 I 1000 Brussels I Belgium

 

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us!

Learn more about UNEXMIN at EGU2019!

Following a previous presentation of the UNEXMIN project in 2017, the team will be represented once again at EGU 2019. The abstract/presentation entitled “UNEXMIN: an innovative approach for mineral exploration in flooded mines” will show some light on the current and future development of this unique exploration technology. The UNEXMIN presentation aims to contribute to discussions on “The New Roadmap for Mineral Exploration: Challenges and Innovative approaches”.

The EGU2019 event will run during this whole week, from the 8th to the 12th of April, but UNEXMIN’s presentation will be held Monday, 8th of April. Find the exact details of the date and place below:

Scheduling information:

Programme group: ITS2
Session: ITS2.2/ERE4.4
Monday, 08 Apr 2019, 09:30–09:45
Room L7

Find UNEXMIN’s abstract for EGU2019 here: UNEXMIN EGU2019 abstract

The UNEXMIN project would like to invite all interested persons to come and learn more about the development of the robotic system and to debate the project!

To keep updated, follow us on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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.