BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: Australian Droid + Robot (ADR), a Brisbane-based company that specializes in the development for robots and drones for underground mine inspection, was selected by The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) to assist with the inspection of an abandon mine in Queensland. The Collingwood Tin Mine site, located within a rainforest 30km south of Cooktown, was deemed by DNRME to be too hazardous for human inspection and they looked to trial the innovative, safe alternative Australian Droid + Robot has to offer.
Law requires that an operational mine conduct regular service inspection to maintain ventilation and overall safe operations. At the end of the mine’s life, laws call for the site’s rehabilitation, but the inspections and duties associated with this requirement are often overlooked. Over time, abandon mine conditions grow increasingly hazardous for personnel to enter and survey. Such was the case in Queensland. Sending a robot to assist was the safest option, but not without challenge.
Challenges DNRME and ADR faced at Queensland:
• An abandoned mine that could not be entered by personnel due to a lack of ventilation and known ground support.
• Visible water inside the mine, making it a difficult terrain to traverse.
• Get far enough inside the mine to determine the condition of the bulkhead, which would be out of range of ADR’s line-of-sight remote control.
• Transmit a hi-definition video feed to determine the condition of the bulkhead.
• Establish a wireless mesh network to maintain a continuous communication signal with moving robots.
Conditions being unknown and ever-declining, ADR had to accept that some of their robots used for the mission might be unrecoverable. To offset the potential loss, ADR looked for the most reliable industrial wireless network to maintain constant communication with each robot while underground. Rajant Kinetic Mesh® was chosen. This selection of Rajant Corporation as ADR’s connectivity solution became a catalyst for the two companies to form a strategic partnership.
Rajant’s technology provides a robust alternative to fiber and traditional single radio wireless systems using multi-radio, multi-frequency BreadCrumb® nodes, and their patented InstaMesh® networking software. Every ADR robot had a BreadCrumb node onboard. Regardless of the rough terrain, water adversity, or line-of-sight obstacle issues, Rajant’s Kinetic Mesh maintained uninterrupted high throughput and low latency to overcome any obstacles. ADR’s robotic “inspectors” were enabled to independently scan, sense, and explore on behalf of DNRME personnel.
“We were honored to be a resource for DNRME as this is exactly what we have spent a decade developing our technology to do,” explained ADR’s Dr. Joe Cronin. “We are grateful for the opportunity and thankful for having a steadfast networking partner in Rajant.”