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Pipebots/UNEXUP/ROBOMINERS clustering event!

On 24 May 2022 a joint webinar was held between UNEXUP, Pipebots, and ROBOMINERS. This virtual meeting was a great opportunity for the engineers and technology developers, as well as other members of these consortia, to share and discuss experiences, lessons learned and challenges that are faced in each of these projects – which are dealing with innovation and research on robotics:

  • UNEXUP: A robot-based exploration service – spatial and geoscientific – for mines and other underwater environments.
  • ROBOMINERS: ROBOMINERS’ innovative approach combines the creation of a new mining ecosystem with novel ideas from other sectors, in particular with the inclusion of disruptive concepts from robotics, to facilitate EU access to mineral raw materials.
  • Pipebots: Pipebots aims to revolutionise buried pipe infrastructure management with the development of micro-robots designed to work in underground pipe networks and dangerous sites.

The first item of the agenda was an offline session, in which all invited participants watched – independently – some pre-recorded videos from the said projects. These videos were focused on the developments and challenges related to the robotic systems, sensors, autonomous control, navigation, communication, among other related topics. Afterwards, the consortium started an e-meeting with an introduction followed by questions and answers about the videos. Next, structured discussions were conducted about the topics:

  • Robot communication and power requirements
  • Robot autonomy and control
  • Robot navigation/SLAM

It was a productive event, with great discussions and active participation of the engineers and developers of the robotic systems. The clustering webinar closed with the scheduling of a follow up meeting to further advance some specific topics, and to talk about further collaboration opportunities between these consortia.

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UNEXUP presented at EGU General Assembly 2022

The annual General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union, EGU22, is currently taking place between 23 and 27 May 2022, in a hybrid format – both in Vienna, Austria, and online. The event is welcoming several scientists of all nations, and UNEXUP was represented and introduced in a short-oral presentation.

The UNEXUP consortium submitted an abstract under the section ERE4.4 – “Automation and robotics for raw material exploration and production in Europe”, which was approved by the conveners. The section is dedicated to research and innovation in exploration and mining of raw materials, focused on the prospect of developing completely new methods and technologies to find and exploit new mineral deposits within Europe. Amongst these technologies, robotisation and miniaturisation of exploration/production platforms (robotic autonomous explorers & miners) are considered as potential solutions to extract them in a socially and environmentally responsible way, and produce useful metallurgical products which can be used further-on for manufacturing.

In this context, the UNEXUP presentation took place on Monday, 23 May 2022, in online format. The presentation covered general details of the project, as well as its context, objectives, technology, field missions and the commercialization of the innovative exploration service. Afterwards, during the Q&A session, some interested participants asked questions related to the navigation capabilities of UX-1Neo – such as the depth capacity and autonomy time (hours) of the robot.

This annual event is a great opportunity to communicate about UNEXUP achievements towards relevant stakeholders, as well as to follow up on the latest technologies, methods, and R&I in the raw materials sector in Europe.

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UNEXUP 4th Progress Meeting

The UNEXUP consortium had the opportunity to meet in person for the first time since the kick-off-meeting of the project, held in Budapest, Hungary, in early February 2020. During this period of time, three Progress Meetings were held online, due to the travel restrictions and different phases related to the ongoing pandemic that Europe is facing.

The 4th Progress Meeting took place in Porto, Portugal, on 25-26 January 2022, hosted by the partner INESC TEC. The event was hybrid, and the attendance comprised participants both in person and virtually.

The first day of the event was initiated with welcome words and practicalities by the UNEXUP Coordinator Norbert Zajzon, followed by a short presentation about general aspects of the project. After that, the Work Package (WP) leaders were invited to present the progress and future steps of their activities – in the following order:

  • WP0 – Market strategy and business development portfolio: UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR) presented the go-to-market strategy, market analysis and updates on the business plan around the commercialization of the exploration service from UNEXUP technology.
  • WP1 – Technology upscaling and development: The INESC TEC team, University of Miskolc, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Tampere University, and the company 4dcoders introduced the advancements and technical details on robotics, instruments and sensors, as well as post-processing of the data generated from the field missions.
  • WP2 – Pilots: UNEXMIN GeoRobotics led the presentations and discussions about the concluded field missions so far, as well as the potential future opportunities for 2022.
  • WP3 – Project Management: The Project Coordinator Norbert Zazjon (University of Miskolc) provided an overview on the administrative and management part of the implementation of UNEXUP.
  • WP4 – Communication, dissemination and outreach: La Palma Research Centre, as leader of WP4, presented the current status of the communication and outreach activities and tools.

The presentations were followed by a technical visit to the INESC TEC lab, where UX-1Neo was developed and calibrated. After that, the meetings resumed, with the valuable participation of our Advisory Board. This session was dedicated to open discussions and recommendations regarding commercialization, technology, field missions and the promotion strategy, which wrapped up the first day of event.

The following day (26/01) was dedicated to open discussions and decisions regarding key topics to be aligned in the final year of the project. For example: opportunities and schedule of field missions; technological requirements; UNEXUP Final Conference; post-processed data; and more.

In mid-2022 the consortium will be together again for the last Progress Meeting before the Final Conference. The meeting will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to plan and discuss the final activities towards the last months of the project. Stay tuned!

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First commercial field mission: the Csor well

In June 2021 the UNEXUP consortium travelled to Hungary to conduct the first commercial mission of UX-1Neo. The mission site was a potable water source in western Hungary – the Csor water well.

The mission was to create a detailed 3D map of the structure of the well, without the need to dewater it or send humans to conduct the survey – which would contaminate the water. The objective was to acquire valuable data that would allow engineers to plan the reconstruction of the well.

2021-11-15

The robot was disinfected and launched down the shaft up to a depth of approximately 66 meters. The multibeam sonar allowed the robot to map the environment, while the structured light systems (SLS) improved the mapping by providing further details of the structure. In addition, the photogrammetry cameras gave a realistic impression to the final model of the Csor well.

The mission was accomplished after a single dive!

PRESS RELEASE

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Participation of UNEXUP at the RawMat2021!

From 5 – 9 September 2021 the academic community, engineers, scientists, industry executives, stakeholders and policy makers, and other professionals in the field of raw materials have attended the RawMat2021 Conference, an event that took place both in virtual and in person formats. The International Conference on Raw Materials and Circular Economy was held in Athens, Greece, organized by the Technical Chamber of Greece, the School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens and the Greek Raw Materials Cluster (GRawMat) under the auspices of SEV Hellenic Federation of Enterprises.

The event was mostly focused on the technological developments and future challenges regarding Raw Materials, with emphasis given on Circular Economy aspects. In this opportunity, the abstract submitted by the UNEXUP consortium was approved to be presented at the event.

The presentation of UNEXUP, titled “UNEXUP, a robot-based surveying technology for flooded mines and other underwater structures” was held on 6 September, under the session SESSION A4 – Mine of the future and transition to Industry 4.0. The presentation covered the overall details of the project, the robotic technology, commercialization, and also the four field missions that took place in the past months.

The project raised interest from the audience, who asked questions about the challenges faced in the field, the commercialization of the exploration service, and the pre-evaluation of the field sites.

The reports and webpages dedicated to the field missions are under development, and will be published on the website and shared on social media whenever they are ready and available. Stay tuned!

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UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR) at Dig Deep – The Mining Podcast!

On 23 August 2021 the UNEXUP project was introduced on Dig Deep – The Mining Podcast, hosted by Rob Tyson. Dig Deep is a podcast dedicated to the mining industry, in which mining professionals are invited to discuss and present new topics, innovations, companies, and news about the sector. This initiative was created by Rob Tyson, the Founder and Director of Mining International – in the UK.

In this occasion, Richárd Zoltán Papp – the CEO of UNEXMIN GeoRobotics, UGR (UNEXUP partner) – was invited to talk about the creation of the company, the offered services, as well as its role in the UNEXUP project. UGR is the company responsible for the organization of the field missions and, mainly, the development of the Go-To-Market strategy for the UNEXUP technology. In addition, Richárd talked about the technological and scientific achievements during the UNEXMIN and UNEXUP projects. He explained the development of the robots, the geoscientific and navigational instrumentation, the performance in the field, as well as the various applications of the technology, not only dedicated to the mining sector, but any underwater environment.

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE BY CLICKING HERE

Podcasts are in a steady growth in popularity in the past years, therefore, it was a great opportunity to present the UNEXMIN/UNEXUP projects, the company UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR), and to mention the next steps towards the commercialization of the robot-based exploration technology for flooded environments.

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UNEXUP presented at EGU General Assembly 2021

The EGU General Assembly 2021 (vEGU21: Gather Online) was held in the past two weeks – from 19th to 30th April. This virtual meeting has gathered scientists, researchers, industry members, and the general public from all over the world with a common interest: disciplines related to the Earth, planetary, and space sciences.

In this occasion, the UNEXUP project was presented in session ERE5.4 – Mineral exploration for the XXI Century, on 29th April, and it was highlighted by session conveners as being of public interest. The session counted with 21 presentations (2-minutes each), which were brief opportunities for the presenters to introduce their work to the attendees, followed by a private Q&A session at the end.

The UNEXUP project was present twice in this session:

  1. UNEXUP, a robotic exploration technology for underground flooded mines: At first, Márcio Tameirão (LPRC) presented the project as a whole, focusing on the context, objectives, the UX-1Neo robot, UX-2, field missions, and the commercialization of the technology – introducing the partner UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR).

  1. 3D photogrammetry of flooded mines and caves with the UX-1 series underwater exploration robots – The UNEXUP Project: Afterwards, Richárd Zoltán Papp (UGR / UNIM) gave a presentation focused on the 3D photogrammetry technique, obtained from the built-in RGB cameras of UX-1, which contributes to the acquisition of valuable spatial and geoscientific knowledge from flooded mines and other underwater environments.

In the Downloads page of our website you can find the communication materials that were developed for this event:

The session had an average of 45 attendees, and you can learn more about the event by following the official hashtags #EGU21 | #vEGU21 on social media!

 

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Press Release – Presenting UX-1Neo

The second Press Release of the UNEXUP project is ready and available for download!

The Downloads page of our website has now the most recent Press Release, which introduces you to the new robot: UX-1Neo. It contains some of its technological developments, the upcoming field work for 2021, as well as the contact details of project representatives, such as the company UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Ltd. (UGR) – which is the partner responsible for the organization of field missions and commercialization of the robot-based technology.

More Press Releases will be published on the website – and shared on social media channels – whenever we reach an important step or milestone. This is an informative tool dedicated to potential customers and other stakeholders interested in the technology, as well as to journalists and professionals of the media from the raw materials and robotics sectors.

Stay updated with the upcoming UNEXUP developments!

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2nd Progress Meeting!

On Wednesday (03/02) the UNEXUP consortium had the Second Progress meeting, online. This event was initially planned to happen in Tampere, Finland, hosted by the partner Tampere University. However, the current COVID-19 restrictions made the project partners switch it to a virtual meeting.

The purpose of Progress Meetings is to discuss and update the work accomplished within each of the Work Packages, and to collect input from the Advisory Board regarding the future steps to be pursued. In this opportunity, the WP leaders presented their work, followed by questions and an open discussion about specific topics to be prioritized in the upcoming weeks and months.

Work Package 0: Market strategy and business development portfolio. UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Ltd., company responsible for the commercialization of the technology developed in UNEXUP, presented the updates on the business plan and go-to-market strategy, as well as the marketing channels that have been developed. UGR now has its own website and LinkedIn page to expand their professional network and promote its services to their potential customers. In addition, the new BlueROV2 and the ROV Training Program were presented and commented by the consortium.

Work Package 1: Technology upscaling and development. The partners INESC TEC, RCI/4dcoders and University of Miskolc presented the evolution of the new UX-1Neo robot, as well as the scientific instrumentation under development, and post-processing techniques to be implemented in the future field missions in UNEXUP. The main topics were about the advancements and comparison between the former UX-1, developed within the UNEXMIN project, and the recent UX-1Neo, which is its upscaled version.

Work Package 2: Pilots. The COVID-19 restrictions have compromised the schedule of pilot tests during 2020. However, UGR – WP Leader – have presented the strategy and upcoming field missions to be performed in 2021 in Europe and worldwide.

Work Package 3: Project Management. The project coordinator Norbert Zajzon – University of Miskolc (UNIM) – provided an overview of the practicalities and communications from EIT RawMaterials.

Work Package 4: Communication, dissemination and outreach. The company LPRC made a brief presentation on the tasks and outreach materials that have been developed in 2020 and 2021, to increase visibility of UNEXUP updates and results to the target audiences.

The following section was an open discussion about priorities and logistics related to the overall work plan of 2021, focusing on the field trials to be scheduled and performed. These field trials will demonstrate the capabilities of the new robot of collecting spatial and geoscientific information from inaccessible underwater sites, which reflects the uniqueness of the technology involved in the project.

Afterwards the Advisory Board provided their feedback and input collected from the presentations. Their expertise and contribution were extremely useful to steer the project to the right direction, with the purpose of achieving its key goals and avoiding potential obstacles.

The partners are now more prepared and motivated to continue the work in 2021 and make impactful progress despite the challenges imposed by the current pandemic situation. Stay tuned!

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UNEXUP presented at Instituto Superior Técnico – TÉCNICO LISBOA

Last week, on 25 November 2020, the UNEXUP and UNEXMIN projects were presented in an online lecture for the students of Instituto Superior Técnico – TÉCNICO LISBOA. The audience of the presentation was the students of the Mine and Geological Engineering degree, who had the unique opportunity to learn more about the innovative robot-based technology that was developed in UNEXMIN, and is under further development within UNEXUP.

The presentation started with the introduction of the UNEXMIN project (2016-2019), predecessor of UNEXUP. Students and professors of TÉCNICO LISBOA understood the background of the project, as well as the advancements in the robotic technology, the field trials, and main achievements. Pictures of the robot and the test sites, as well as short videos of the pilot tests were also shown in this part of the presentation, which allowed the audience to have a better understanding of how the technology works and what it can do.

Afterwards, the UNEXUP project was introduced as the direct continuation of UNEXMIN. The new objectives and scope of the project were presented, as well as the envisaged developments in the robotic platform. The commercial focus was explained, followed by the introduction of the company UNEXMIN GeoRobotics, which is leading the go-to-market strategy, business plan and pilot tests within UNEXUP.

The whole presentation ended with the UNEXMIN documentary movie, which can be watched on the UNEXUP YouTube Channel.

The presentation had 12 attendees, who, together with the professors, asked questions about the robotic technology and its new instruments, the possible future applications, and how the exploration service will be commercialized to the target markets.

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