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UNEXMIN GeoRobotics

Developing science and technology

UNEXMIN was an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project that developed a novel robotic system, primarily for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines, but also with other applications in mind. The Robotic Explorer platform, made by three robots – UX-1a, UX-1b and UX-1c, uses non-invasive methods for autonomous 3D mine mapping for gathering valuable geological, mineralogical and spatial information. This can possibly open new exploration scenarios so that strategic decisions on the re-opening of Europe’s abandoned mines can be supported by actualised data that cannot be obtained in any other way without major costs and/or risks.

The UNEXMIN Multi-robot Platform represents a new technology line that is only made possible by recent developments in autonomy research that allows the development of a completely new class of mine explorer service robots, capable of operating without remote control. Such robots do not exist nowadays, and UX-1 is the first of its kind.

Major research challenges are related to the miniaturisation and adaptation of deep-sea robotics technology to this new application environment and geoscientific data interpretation.

After component validation and simulations to understand the behaviour of the technology components and instruments in the application environment, the production and assembly of the first UX-1 robot were finished in April 2018. Since then, the first prototype has been tested at the Kaatiala mine (June 2018), Idrija mine (September 2018), Urgeirça mine (March/April 2019), Ecton mine (May 2019) and Molnár János cave (June/July 2019).

Project details:

  • Project starting date: 1 February 2016
  • Duration: 45 months
  • Budget: EUR 4 862 865
  • Output: 3 working prototypes & a Joint company to offer the services to the market