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Drones, Autonomous Robots Could Be Deployed in Coal Mines to Improve Safety

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Mine workers are introduced to the drone.

Technology developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization means areas of mines can now be mapped and inspected without putting people in dangerous situations.

Credit: Angel Parsons

Technology developed by scientists at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) enables drones to map and inspect subterranean coal mines, to avoid putting people into potentially hazardous situations.

Aerospace engineer Luke Horwood said the autonomous HoverMap scanner uses fixed points to generate a network of coordinates, emitting 300,000 laser points a second to map the surroundings; if a drone loses contact with its operator, it returns to a waypoint to find its way back.

Holstein Wong at drone company Emesent said operators also can mount the scanner on a backpack, ground robot, or vehicle.

The technology hopefully will let mine operators make faster decisions on changing environments.

Said Horwood, "If someone sees deterioration, we can scan the area multiple times and compare them and do change detections."

From ABC News (Australia)

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