MINE INSPECTION AND MAPPING
An operating mine requires services to be maintained (ventilation, de-watering, etc) and regular inspection by qualified technical personnel to ensure a safe environment. Some of the abandoned sites are unventilated and have unsupported groundwork and have not had inspections or operating services for many years, which can make it hazardous for personnel to enter and survey the mine. Because the conditions of an abandoned mine are not understood, we send in ground robots to minimise the impact.
The most challenging aspect of remote inspection is maintaining strong, high-bandwidth communications for control and video feedback. ADR robots are connected via a military-grade Rajant dynamic Wi-Fi network, which allows each robot to act as a relay node in the network. This means that as each robot moves into the mine, the signal is automatically reconfigured to bounce between the robots to find the strongest connection back to the base station. This increases the range that the robots can enter the mine and allows them to operate out of line-of-site of the base station.
Each robot has independently driven wheels with independent suspension and traction control to maximise mobility in underground terrain. We have also developed our own control hardware and software for the robots, which can operate over existing mine Wi-Fi or the dynamic Rajant network that is deployed in real-time. After sending in smaller relay robots, we send in the ‘Dropbear’, our ground robot fitted with a high intensity light and high definition camera.
We have the ability to conduct remote inspections without putting personnel in hazardous areas.