Emesent is a drone autonomy company which has completed an autonomous underground flight with two DJI Matrice 300, which makes it possible to successfully find its way in two Australian mines for the first time ever.
The Australian mines were testing Emesent’s 3D LIDAR-based SLAM technology system that enables drones to fly inside mines where GPS is not available, as well as beyond visual line-of-sight into unmapped areas. This technology allows mining companies to map, navigate, and collect data in hard-to-access environments.
The flights took place at the Round Oak Minerals’ Mount Colin underground copper mine in northern Queensland, Australia, and the flights mark a milestone for Emesent which provided its Hovermap software and LiDAR hardware for use with the newly released Matrice 300 drone.
A similar flight above ground would not be very impressive since there are not as many space restrictions and there is daylight to help with capturing data and flying safely.
Autonomy & Drones
For a few years now, drones have slowly, but steadily, become smarter with the introduction of automated flight modes, and more importantly, autonomous flight. DJI and Skydio are two companies in the consumer and commercial market which have been paving the way with increasingly sophisticated drones every year.
DJI and Skydio are approaching autonomous flights differently in that DJI is choosing the less autonomous approach by keeping the drone pilot in control of the drone for the majority of the time. Skydio, on the other hand, has almost removed the need for a human to pilot the drone by using high-resolution cameras that pick up a full 360 image of the world, which allows the drone to fly autonomously and avoid objects.
With automated flight modes, and more importantly, autonomous flight, DJI and Skydio are two companies in the consumer and commercial market which have been paving the way with increasingly sophisticated drones every year that should challenge other companies to learn from their example.
With so many space restrictions and lack of daylight to help with capturing data and flying safely, the fact that the DJI Matrice 300 drone is able to fly underground without crashing is truly impressive and is another technological breakthrough.