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.”
Drone flying autonomously underground using Hovermap payload technology.