Flying Underground: The Use of Smart Flying Robots in Underground Mining

Hovering Solutions has introduced a new revolutionary method to gather data in underground mining by using Smart Flying Robots.

These small, intelligent and autonomous devices are able to navigate autonomously through linear underground infrastructure such as narrow galleries and vertical shafts in mines, as well as sewer pipes or small-diameter tunnels in civil engineering projects.

The newly developed Smart Flying Robots are more intelligent, smaller and smarter than the previous generation. With a weight of less than 2kg and 60cm/23.6in diameter, the vehicle is able to take an underground mission and fly during 29 minutes without human intervention. The smart vehicle is able to recognise the environment in real-time, keep the distance to wall sides and detect any obstacle interfering its path.
The on-board indoor positioning system, based on multi-sensor technology and custom-developed by Hovering Solutions , is able to provide relative geolocation information to the robot in GNSS- and light-denied environments.

During the missions the vehicle gathers data, and, as a result, the system provides high-accuracy 3D models of underground areas, including high-resolution textured layers of the scenario surfaces. Additional sensors such as 3D thermal mapping and gas detection can be integrated into the system if required.

The produced information helps in decision making and improves the efficiency of common mining activities such as production control, planning, exploration, underground earthworks or infrastructure and machinery maintenance.

Technology Features

  • External targets or fixed beacons are not needed for indoor positioning
  • Produces high-detail colour-textured layers even in light-denied areas
  • Autonomous navigation in GNSS-denied environments
  • Small, light and smart solution
  • Human-risk free system
  • Cost efficient

Main Applications

  • Underground mine explorations and 3D mapping
  • Inaccessible area data gathering
  • 3D/4D underground infrastructure monitoring
  • Surface auscultation and defect detection
  • Gas detection and underground atmosphere monitoring
  • BIM modelling: existing asset identification and classification


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