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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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Workshop online: “New Challenges in the Mineral Raw Materials Industry: Safety, Digitalisation, Technology & Innovation”

On Thursday, 12 November 2020, the Cluster Portugal Mineral Resources and the Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems – INESC TEC, with the support of EIT RAW MATERIALS & TEC4SEA, organized an online Workshop entitled “New Challenges in the Mineral Raw Materials Industry: Safety, Digitalisation, Technology & Innovation”. This event was held within the framework of the Raw Materials Week 2020, with the purpose of emphasizing the importance of the mineral raw materials in our everyday lives, and to discuss the strategies to be pursued to guarantee a constant supply of raw materials in Europe.

Several projects were presented, with a focus on digitalisation in mining, smart solutions, mineral processing, and others. The event was divided in two main Sessions, and the participants included stakeholders of the mining industry, company representatives, SMEs, start-ups, universities, research institutions, experts, and other players of the sector.

In this opportunity, Norbert Zajzon – project coordinator of UNEXUP – was invited to talk about the project in the first Session of the event, as one of the ongoing EIT RawMaterials projects. The presentation covered overall information about the project, its relationship with the precedent UNEXMIN (funded under the Horizon 2020 programme), the objectives, developments of the robotic platform, and the expected achievements within the next years of implementation. In addition, Norbert introduced the 26-minute UNEXMIN documentary that was released earlier this year, which shows the background and concept of UNEXUP as well. 

A total of 78 participants were watching the presentation and learned more about the latest updates on the project.

For those who are interested in contacting the UNEXUP consortium, leave us a message by filling the contact form, and follow us on social media!

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Consortium meeting, towards the final steps of 2020!

Last week, on 28th October 2020, the UNEXUP consortium had an e-meeting to discuss the work plan for the final months of 2020. The main topics included the advancements in the development of the new robot, as well as field missions and the production of the first UNEXUP movies. In addition, the partners briefly discussed the initial steps for January 2021.

The main topic of discussion was the field trials with the UX-robot for this year. Due to the travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the consortium had to rearrange the schedule of such trials. Constraints related to logistics of shipping the robot, equipment and operators to the sites made the consortium come up with feasible alternatives to the original plan. Some pilots were moved to 2021, while others were fit in 2020’s possibilities.

In the upcoming months, the next UX robot will be ready to be tested in INESC TEC facilities. After the calibration tests in the lab’s tank, the robot will be able to perform its first field trials in natural underwater structures. These missions will demonstrate the capabilities of the robot in real-life environments, which will be filmed and documented by a dedicated professional team.

Illustration of the “Call for Pilots” campaign, implemented on UNEXUP social media channels.

The field trials’ movies will be a commercial showcase of how the upgraded software, hardware and functionalities of the robot will add value to mining companies, Geological Surveys and other industries that can benefit from the technology. The official repository platform for such movies will be the UNEXUP YouTube channel.

Stay tuned by following us on social media!

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UNEXUP participation at the EIT RawMaterials Summit 2020!

The EIT RawMaterials Summit was held online on 29 – 30 September 2020, in which more than 140 experts and over 700 participants had the opportunity to share insights, knowledge and future plans on the supply and use of sustainable raw materials in the EU. Despite the adaptations related to the current global pandemic, the two-days event was a successful opportunity to connect experts and the public interested in innovation, new possibilities, and best practices within the raw materials sector.

The first day was dedicated to talks under the #INNOVATIONTRACK topic, which covered subjects related to digitalization in exploration and mining, resilient battery materials supply chains, as well as circular economy: policies and innovation. In addition, EC/DG Grow  launched the European Raw Materials Alliance, which aims at strengthening industrial ecosystems in Europe, with a focus on rare earths and permanent magnets. Afterwards, there were discussions between stakeholders on the topic, which wrapped-up the Day 1 of the event.

The second day covered additional and fruitful talks on the future of the sector on innovation, education, and venture. In this opportunity, the project coordinator of UNEXUP – Norbert Zajzon (University of Miskolc) – was invited to present the project at the EASME section: H2020 – Innovations and innovators along the raw materials value chain. Norbert presented both UNEXUP and the predecessor project – UNEXMIN – in a streamed presentation to hundreds of attendees, who could learn more about the pre-existing robotic technology, as well as the upcoming improvements, field trials and commercialization of the robot-based exploration service for flooded environments.

Events such as the EIT RawMaterials Summit substantially contribute to the sector, since the demand for critical raw materials for green technologies will increase in the upcoming years and decades in Europe, in order to meet the ambitious Green Deal goals by 2050. Therefore, projects that address new exploration and extraction methods have been strongly encouraged.

The participation of UNEXUP in the event demonstrates that the innovative robotic technology to survey flooded mines will add value to the mining sector, by allowing the geoscientific and spatial evaluation of currently inaccessible sites without human risks or major costs.

Stay tuned!

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UGR’s ROV Training Program

Would you like to learn how to drive an underwater ROV in flooded mines or caves?

If so, then get involved with the UNEXMIN GeoRobotics’ (UGR) training program. The program is in its development stage and UGR offers a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting new adventure. The UNEXUP consortium members have the skills to operate underwater vehicles in the most difficult of flooded environments. Through UGR we would like to share our experience with valued customers through an ROV training program that will ultimately see you controlling the advanced underwater vehicles being developed in UNEXUP!

The rough outline of the training program has already been developed and will be rolled out in 2021. The program contains:

  1. Theory part: How ROVs are built, the general components, potential difficult situations that can be encountered, types of navigation systems and more.
  2. Simulator training: For operators to get familiar with the controls and data feedback, as in-house practice.
  3. Real-life training: This last part of the training will involve different ROVs in increasingly difficult environments such as a pool, open water, and tunnel, shaft or cave.

In order to cover – and exceed – the expectations from future operators that are interested in the Training Program, UGR would like to receive input and comments from you. What would you like to do and experience during the training?

If you are interested in this program, please get in touch with UGR now: info@unexmin-georobotics.com. Feel free to ask questions, provide suggestions or comments regarding your interests in the upcoming ROV Training Program.

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