Aircraft went underground

Aircraft went underground

February 25, 2021

A new generation of mine surveying drone has been tested at the Nornickel Polar division enterprises.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. At the three mines of the Polar division – Mayak, Skalisty and Komsomolsky – at the initiative of the mine surveyor service of the Norilsk division, the company, together with the Nornickel digital laboratory, tested a specialized laser scanning complex Hovermap. The newest drone was tested by specialists of the international company Aerodyne, which is the world leader in the field of asset inspection using unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Nornickel enterprises are the first point in Russia where they test the unique device. The new drone can be called a whole complex, which has no analogues in our country yet.

“The drone flies deep underground without a GPS signal, and is attached to a unique laser scanner that scans the surrounding area 360 degrees,” says Artyom Serebrennikov, director of the Russian division of Aerodyne. “We can make full 3D models of underground mine workings, treatment chambers and other hard-to-reach places. The uniqueness of the device is also in the fact that it scans the space not at a definite angle, like most laser scanners, including mobile ones: the drone control system is combined with a laser scanner, and due to the fact that the surrounding space is scanned, the drone can fly around those obstacles that come across on the flight path. That is, in fact, this is an advanced level of autonomous flight: the drone flies according to the program, adjusts the route itself, flies around obstacles, flies out of sight, where it moves autonomously, and returns on its own. The operator on a special tablet only sets the points where the drone should hit. We have already tested the equipment at three mines of the Polar division. The results are good”.

The specialist added that the device was produced in Australia, where it was successfully tested, they have already been introduced it in Chile, and in Russia it appeared at the beginning of the year. The drone weighs about six kilograms along with a laser scanner that weighs 1.8 kilograms. According to Artyom Serebrennikov, today it is one of the world’s lightest mobile laser scanners. The drone flight time is from 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the weight of the payload. One of the main advantages of the program is that it is fully compatible with those management systems that already exist in the enterprise.

“Today the final testing step took place at the Komsomolsky mine. The drone flew around the tunnel. We’ll make a 3D model of the space and present the final results to Nornickel. Even now we can say that the new technology has aroused great interest from the customer”, he concluded.

Vladimir Orlov, chief surveyor of the Komsomolsky mine of the Polar division’s survey center, believes that the main advantages of the new equipment are the accuracy of work and the ability to inspect blind spots, as well as the safety of work due to the operator being in a safe place.

“Industrial safety is the main thing for Nornickel. We do not want to risk the health of employees, therefore, in those places where it is dangerous for people to be, it’s better to use equipment”, said Vladimir Orlov.

Text: Mikhail Tuaev, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko

February 25, 2021

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