Talk Title: Flying Underground – autonomous drone flight in underground mines
Abstract: Mapping and surveying of underground mines can be a challenging and dangerous task. In many cases it simply isn’t possible to map certain areas because of access issues. Examples include mapping of stopes, drives, ore passes and draw points. Traditional surveying tools such as total stations and Cavity Monitoring Systems have their limitations in terms of point density, shadowing and the need to have surveyors enter dangerous areas. To overcome these issues, the CSIRO/Data61 Robotics Group have developed Hovermap – a UAS payload which provides GPS-denied navigation, autonomy and SLAM-based LiDAR mapping capabilities. This talk will provide an overview of the Hovermap payload and present results from a number of flight trials in underground mines, including the numerous challenges that these environments poses for autonomous flight.
Bio: Dr Stefan Hrabar is a Principal Research Scientist at the CSIRO/Data61 Robotics Group in Australia. He joined CSIRO in 2006 after obtaining his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Southern California. He has served as a key member of the CSIRO UAS research team since 2006, with a focus on vision and lidar-based navigation, path planning, mission planning tools, and 3D visualisation of UAS-collected data. Since 2015 he has lead the development and commercialisation of Hovermap, a SLAM-based autonomy and LiDAR mapping payload for industrial UAS. Stefan represents CSIRO and Australia on the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR), and co-leads the IFAR UAS working group.