Concurrent Engineering Experts Conex AB


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This project aims at creating a scanner for 3D mapping constrained spaces, (such as underground mines) that is inaccessible due to safety concerns. We propose in this project to create a drone-based system that can navigate in these shafts semi-autonomously, with only high level input from the operator. The system will employ sonar, laser scanner, UWB technology, and optical measurement to keep the drone stable in the local environment and to determine its position. The use of these technologies together enables the drone to not having to rely on data-heavy SLAM (Simultaneous Location And Mapping) based algorithms to keep track of absolute position in the shafts, as these approaches typically drives performance requirements of the on-board hardware to be out of scope for this low-cost platform, also these SLAM based algorithms currently only existing in various research projects.

The system will be implemented using off-the-shelf components (drone, ultrasonic sensors, communication, laser scanner, flight controller). A STM32 F7 MCU and INEMO IMU will be utilized to implement the logic, data aggregation and additional controllers necessary for station keeping. The proposed concept enables the end-user to scan hazardous environments where the risk of loosing the drone is high (due to constrained spaces, falling debris etc) since replacement of the flying part of the system will be kept relatively low, and data is continuously streamed from the system so the scanning data up to the point of the loss will still be available.

We also outline some further developments that we foresee possible from extending this system, for example an off-line slam based solution could be deployed when such software becomes commercially available. Based on this project we will further develop this product together with a pilot customer in the mining industry to reach a market ready state.

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