To fly a drone in restricted locations needs piloting skills, and more knowledge of the environments. A new drone certification program from Flyability will support the Elios drone owners with a way to determine their piloting skills in these kinds of situations.

The Canada-based company, Unmanned Aerial Services Inc.  is functioning for underground inspections, where the GPS signals are not present, and they are using Flyability’s Elios drone.

Last month, UAS founders, Jason Carignan and Matt MacKinnon, operated multiple missions in the North American Palladium near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Underground mines are risky places, particularly after mining and revealing which result in open caverns, called open stopes. To stop caving in nearby places and verify the safety and continuity in the mine, the material removed from these open stopes must be replaced, a method called backfilling.

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Flying a drone in underground

Hence, before swapping the material, NAP performs an inspection to find the condition of the area, and measure how much backfill material is required to fill the void and check the environment ground is stable. At the survey, it is vital to determine the height and condition of a stope ceiling to know what it looks like after blasting, in order to stop future issues on other levels of the mine, which could endanger the lives and production.

Some of the tradition surveying tools are Cavity Monitoring Survey, CMS on a cart or boom arm, which is worthless at getting through the tall piles of muck on the floor, in going around corner, or seeing beyond a deep brow which can also be unsuccessful at totally surveying the places since limited to the actual location of the hole. Here the UAS comes in.

Using the Elios drone, provided with both a 1080p HD video camera as well as an embedded thermal camera, and by standing safely under supported ground away from the restricted area – the team was able to collect exact information about the geological features, ground conditions,  and dikes that may indicate where walls are likely to fall. Using the gathered data, the company can use AutoCAD to make a rough model of the stope, used to assess risks and plan work.

Elios completed the mission in one hour and were also able to eliminate the human element from the harmful surrounding.

Watch a video of Underground mapping using drones: