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Consortium e-meeting – Technical Requirements and Commercialization plan

On March 24th-26th the UNEXUP consortium had a three-day e-meeting in order to discuss the work plan and timeline of the Work Packages dedicated to the technical requirements (WP1) and the commercialization strategy (WP0). This meeting was supposed to be held in person, in Gran Canaria – Spain, however, it was held via teleconferencing due to the quarantine measures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first day of the e-meeting (March 24th) was dedicated to business and commercialization plan of the future UNEXUP underwater mine mapping/exploration service. UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Ltd. (UGR) is the partner responsible for this task, and Hilco van Moerkerk (UGR’s Managing Director) presented the work plan on this topic, mentioning our target markets, threats, how to understand the customer’s needs, and how to fulfill these requirements. In addition, Luís Lopes – La Palma Research Centre (LPRC) – presented about the Go-To-Market strategy, mentioning a brief market assessment made during the PDAC 2020 convention this year.

On March 25th, the initial presentations were led by technology developers of UNEXUP: INESC TEC and 4dcoders (RCI). Both teams presented about the work progress regarding the technology requirements and developments in the current UX-1 robotic platform, as well as the future steps regarding the development of an additional robot that will be added to the system at later stages in the project. The additional robot will be able to complete missions that require even higher capabilities regarding navigation, autonomy, self-awareness and geoscientific data production, under even more challenging environments. In addition, Emil Pucko – Geological Survey of Slovenia (GeoZS) – presented the strategic plan for commercialization, business plan and risk assessment, in order to understand the market opportunities, and how the UNEXUP service will be able to succeed in it.

The last day of the e-meeting (March 26th) was dedicated to technical discussions, in order to bridge the market requirements with technical abilities of the UNEXUP technology, as well as discussions about the planning on software and hardware developments during the project’s lifetime, led by Máté Koba and Zoltán Papp Richárd (University of Miskolc – UNIM).

In this second consortium meeting (the first was the UNEXUP kick-off-meeting), the project partners raised valuable discussions and inputs regarding the project’s progress and work plan on the technical and commercialization topics. Now the consortium is more prepared to understand what our potential customers’ needs, what types of markets can be targeted by the UNEXUP technology, and what are the next steps in order to deliver a successful service to the future clients.

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Our first Press Release has been published!

The first Press Release about UNEXUP is ready and available for download. The webpage dedicated to Downloads of different dissemination tools about the project has now the first Press Release, which contains information on UNEXUP’s objectives, background, targets, technological challenges, overall strategy, as well as the contact channels, from which the stakeholders can reach the Project Coordinator – Norbert Zajzon, as well as the Managing Director of the company UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Ltd. – Hilco van Moerkerk, which is the partner in charge of developing the business strategy around the UX1-based technology.

Press Releases will be published on the website – and promoted on social media channels – whenever we reach an important step or milestone over the years of the UNEXUP lifetime. This is an informative tool dedicated to potential customers and investors of the technology, as well as to journalists and professionals of the media from the raw materials and robotics sectors.

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PDAC 2020 outcomes for UNEXUP

The UNEXUP project was represented in the recent PDAC 2020 exhibition in Toronto, Canada. Elements from LPRC and UGR represented the EIT RawMaterials project towards potential customers, in one of the biggest mining-related encounters in the world. During four days, the representants introduced and discussed with potential customers and interested parties of the technology, to raise awareness and commercial interest to the UNEXUP technology.

The feedback gathered was very welcome. Mining companies were especially interested in the services that are provided by the UNEXUP technology, and technology developers were impressed with the technological achievements of the UX-1 based platform. The UNEXUP team now expects to turn the interest gathered during the conference into real case businesses, a goal always stated by the project personnel.

UNEXUP will continue the development and upgrading of its platform’s capabilities, hardware and software. At the same time, the project members – especially UNEXMIN GeoRobotics – will continue to raise commercial awareness and interest to the unique exploration technology for flooded mines and other underwater environments.

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UNEXUP at the European Robotics Forum 2020 – Spain

The UNEXUP was represented at the European Robotics Forum (ERF) 2020, a major annual event with hundreds of attendees every year, which was held in Málaga – Spain, from 3 – 5 March 2020.

This event, organised by euRobotics under SPARC, the Public-Private partnership for Robotics in Europe, is the most influential meeting of the robotics community in Europe. Therefore, it was an opportunity to meet with the stakeholders from the robotics sector, in order to dialogue and promote the UNEXUP project to them.

Retrieved from: https://www.eu-robotics.net/robotics_forum/info/venue2019.html

In this occasion, our partner Claudio Rossi – from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) – represented the UNEXUP consortium by engaging with stakeholders and distributing informative leaflets about the project, in order to raise awareness and interest from the robotics community, which is one of our target sectors.

The new raw materials exploration / mine mapping service is based on a new class of mine explorer robots, for non-contact surveying of Europe’s flooded mines. One of the ambitious goals of UNEXUP will be to add a fourth robot to the current multi-robot platform, providing additional functionalities to the exploration system, including better range and depth performance. Hardware and software upgrades, as well as new capabilities delivered by the platform are also envisaged for the current and new UX entries, which will greatly extend the usefulness of the platform in different situations.

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UNEXUP at PDAC 2020 – Canada

The UNEXUP project was represented at the PDAC 2020 convention, held in Toronto, Canada, from March 1st to 4th.

The World’s Premier Mineral Exploration & Mining Convention is the world’s leading event in the mining community, where mining companies, geologists, engineers and organizations related to mining and raw materials exploration can share experiences, learn about innovative projects, discuss about the newest developments in mining processes, as well as the upcoming technologies in the sector.

Luís Lopes (LPRC) and Hilco van Moerkerk (UGR) – members of the UNEXUP consortium – were there in order to engage and interact with stakeholders from the mining community, to better understand the needs and requirements of potential customers of the non-contact mine mapping/raw materials exploration service for flooded environments – which is the key output of the UNEXUP.

Hilco van Moerkerk (managing director of UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Lt.) dialoguing with stakeholders from the mining sector

Attending the PDAC 2020 convention was a valuable opportunity for the project’s representatives to dialogue with the key target audiences, not only from the EU, but worldwide, in order to understand the mining scenario and, therefore, to further improve the UX robotic system’s capabilities and instrumentations accordingly.

As a result, this will provide tools and guidelines to our engineers and data processors to develop an effective and innovative geological service at the end of the project, which will supply the current and future needs of the mining community.

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Getting started with UNEXUP!

February 2020 marks the continuation of the UNEXMIN project, now known as UNEXUP – funded under EIT RawMaterials, with a twist: the focus is shifting from scientific research to commercialisation of the unique UX-1 based technology as a mine mapping/exploration service for underwater environments.

The UNEXUP project team, composed of eight partners – including the new UNEXMIN GeoRobotics company, met on the 6th and 7th of February in Budapest, Hungary. In this opportunity, the consortium started discussions and planning on the future of the UX-1 technology. While in UNEXMIN the technology was designed, developed and tested, in UNEXUP the aim is to generate commercial interest to it, and to bridge the technology closer to the targeted markets.

During the first day, presentations about the five Work Packages that the project comprises were made by their respective leaders:

  • Go to market – UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR)
  • Further technological development – INESC TEC
  • Pilots – UNEXMIN GeoRobotics (UGR)
  • Project management – University of Miskolc (UNIM)
  • Communication and dissemination – La Palma Research Centre (LPRC)

These work blocks were then deeply discussed during the following day, for them to be adjusted and approved by the team, in order to drive UNEXUP to a successful outcome by the end of its three years of implementation.

One of the highlights of the kick-off meeting was a talk from Tamas J. Szabo, from the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Miskolc. He was invited by the coordinator Norbert Zajzon to give a lecture about materials engineering, covering topics about polymeric components, corrosion of materials, chemical resistance, behavior of plastic and polymers, and others. Now our engineers are ready to further develop the multi-robotic platform in order to make it even more resistant to the challenging environments!

Now that the first steps are aligned and agreed upon, it is time to get to work and to make the non-contact exploration of flooded mines a reliable reality!

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