World-first trial for drone tech

“The pro­gram is pro­vid­ing vi­tal learn­ings for us as we pre­pare to com­mer­cialise Hovermap.”


CSIRO dig­i­tal re­search arm Data61 has de­vel­oped a new au­ton­o­mous drone pay­load tech­nol­ogy to map com­plex 3D en­vi­ron­ments in pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble mine ar­eas.

The Hovermap drone pay­load tech­nol­ogy, es­tab­lished by Data61 prin­ci­pal re­search sci­en­tist Ste­fan Hrabar, was launched ear­lier this year and has since com­pleted mul­ti­ple au­ton­o­mous test flights.

Re­cently, it recorded the world’s first au­ton­o­mous be­yond line-of-sight drone flight 600m un­der­ground.

The new tech­nol­ogy uses a sin­gle li­dar and ad­vanced al­go­rithms to pro­vide SLAM-based map­ping, om­ni­di­rec­tional col­li­sion avoid­ance, GPS-de­nied flight and ad­vanced au­ton­omy for in­dus­trial drones to un­der­take map­ping of drives and stopes, which are nor­mally too dan­ger­ous to ac­cess.

Mr Hrabar said Data61 al­ready had four par­tic­i­pants in an early adopter pro­gram – In­situ Pa­cific, Smart Sur­vey, NQ UAV and The Lit­tle Rip­per Group – that are us­ing Hovermap for the in­spec­tion of un­der­ground and open-cut mines, rail­way tun­nels, bridges, con­struc­tions sites, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and oil and gas in­fra­struc­ture.

“The pro­gram is pro­vid­ing vi­tal learn­ings for us as we pre­pare to com­mer­cialise Hovermap,” Mr Hrabar said.

“It is help­ing us to val­i­date the prod­uct-mar­ket fit and learn where Hovermap pro­vides the great­est value.

“We’ll it­er­ate and adapt to en­sure we’re solv­ing real prob­lems in th­ese mar­kets.”

Image: CSIRO.

Drone fly­ing au­tonomously un­der­ground us­ing Hovermap pay­load tech­nol­ogy.

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