Hovermap for underground drones
Emesent has raised $3.5 million to commercialise the Hovermap for underground drones
Emesent, a drone autonomy spin-out from CSIRO, the technology arm of Australia’s national science agency, has raised $3.5 million in venture capital to commercialise its first product, Hovermap.
The Hovermap technology automates the collection of valuable data in underground areas too dangerous or difficult for people to survey or navigate, such as stopes or ore passes in mines.
Drones installed with Hovermap can be deployed in GPS-denied environments without a human controller to create 3D maps, and record gas readings, videos and images.
“Hovermap enables the mining industry to safely inspect inaccessible areas of underground mines, while improving the type and quality of data collected to unlock new insights,” Stefan Hrabar, co-founder and CEO of Emesent, says.
“This includes comparing the stope design to the actual post-blast shape to detect over-break and under-break, identification of geotechnical structures and accurate post-blast volume reconciliations. The data we gather improves a mine’s productivity and provides a better understanding of conditions underground, all without sending surveyors and miners into potentially hazardous areas.”
Last year, Hovermap enabled the world’s first fully autonomous beyond-line-of-sight drone flight in an underground mine, 600 metres below the surface of Western Australia, says Emesent.
It is already being used commercially for a variety of applications by early adopters in Australia, the US, Canada, China and Japan.
Mike Zimmerman, partner at Main Sequence Ventures, says Emesent is in a position to take on the global mining industry.
“Although there are a number of compelling use cases today, there are many more to be realised, and we fully expect to see this technology become a mainstay in mines around the world,” he says.
The real-world applications of this technology extends beyond mining and can be integrated into industries such as underground rail and road transport, telecommunications and disaster response, explains Emesent.
Top right: Hovermap allows for the fully autonomous mapping of underground locations
Bottom: Emesent has improved the type and quality of data collected
Top left: Emesent co-founders Stefan Hrabar and Farid Kendoul