Mobile robots have been making impressive inroads in a variety of domains. Within the MiningRoX project, Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg is exploring a further frontier for mobile and autonomous robots: underground mines. The potential benefits of mobile robots in underground mining are plentiful as underground mines are strenuous and potentially dangerous working environments for humans. A higher degree of automation, with robots either acting as helpers for human miners or even replacing all human personnel deployed underground, could help to significantly reduce mining costs. In disaster cases, rescue robots could help to find missing personnel. Unmanned mines operated by robots alone would not endanger human lives at all. Further use cases, and a particular focus of the Mining-RoX project, are mobile robots that gather sensory information of the underground mine (eg for the purpose of creating detailed 2D and 3D maps) as well as monitoring environmental conditions such as air and water quality. This paper presents the design of a prototypical mobile robot for mapping and monitoring underground mines. A generic robotic platform was extended with various 2D and 3D imaging devices as well as other sensors. First results from test runs in an underground mine are reported. Maps of two sections of the mine enhanced with localised sensor measurements were successfully created.


Mining-RoX – Mobile Robots in Underground Mining

Kontakt: Steve.Grehl@informatik.tu-freiberg.de