Emesent, a drone autonomy spin-out from CSIRO’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Group, has raised $3.5 million in venture capital to commercialise its first product, Hovermap.
Main Sequence Ventures, which manages the CSIRO Innovation Fund, led the funding round along with long-time Bechtel mining executive Andy Greig.
Developed by former researchers from CSIRO’s Data61, Emesent’s world-leading 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,” Dr Stefan Hrabar, co-founder and CEO of Emesent said.
“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.”
Before spinning out of CSIRO, Emesent established its leadership in this new category of automating industrial operations in the underground world.
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.
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