Developing science and technology

UNEXMIN is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project that develops a novel robotic system, primarily for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines. The Robotic Explorer platform, made by three robots – UX-1a, UX-1b and UX-1c, uses non-invasive methods for autonomous 3D mine mapping for gathering valuable geological, mineralogical and spatial information. This can possibly open new exploration scenarios so that strategic decisions on the re-opening of Europe’s abandoned mines can be supported by actualised data that cannot be obtained by any other ways, without major costs and/or risks.

Once it is put together, the Multi-robot Platform will represent a new technology line that is only made possible by recent developments in autonomy research that allows the development of a completely new class of mine explorer service robots, capable of operating without remote control. Such robots do not exist nowadays and UX-1 is the first of its kind.

Major research challenges are related to miniaturisation and adaptation of deep sea robotics technology to this new application environment and to the interpretation of geoscientific data.

After component validation and simulations to understand the behavior of the technology components and instruments to application environment, the production and assembly of the first UX-1 robot was finished in April 2018. Since then, the first prototype has been tested at the Kaatiala mine (June 2018) and at the Idrija mine (September 2018).

Work is currently ongoing with the analysis of the data obtained from the test sites. At the same time, the production and assembly of the remaining robot is ongoing.

Project details:

  • Project starting date: 1 February 2016
  • Duration: 45 months
  • Budget: EUR 4 862 865
  • Output: 3 working prototypes