Game of Drones: Inkonova secures first commercial order for the Batonomous system, from LKAB.
On the 23rd of April 2018, Inkonova’s Batonomous received the first commercial service purchase order for a scanning mission using the Batonomous system (autonomy for aerial robotics without light or infrastructure -GPS, beacons, video, etc...) from LKAB Malmberget. The PO came after a prior demo of the system there in late February this year; the demo was conducted in Gällivare in Northern Sweden, beyond the Arctic Circle. LKAB owns the biggest underground iron ore mine in the world, located in Kiruna. The service mission is scheduled for the first half of June 2018.
The mission aims to survey zones deemed difficult or impossible with the previous state of technology. The inclination, the terrain of the shaft, the danger of collapse and falling rocks, absence of light, GPS, vision and prior knowledge, all make it a challenge to survey and map these areas. Nevertheless, the lacks of data from these zones cause weeks of delay, and multitude of errors, and thus millions in monetary loss. The Batonomous technology, along with our other systems, specialize in enabling autonomous aerial robotics in spaces where no other survey platforms can be used, particularly in autonomous navigation where all infrastructure (such as GPS, light, beacons, etc..) is absent, no prior map exists, and the environment has a challenge . Underground mines are the main ones now, but as mentioned before, they are not the only. Some survey profiles are almost impossible with manual piloting due to darkness, unstructured environment, tight spaces and absence of line of sight, therefore such technology is essential to vastly expand horizons for unmanned aerial exploration in all similar environments. It is also warranted by our clients, who wanted to eliminate the necessity of an external human pilot, and have the operation as easy as click of the mouse instead. What could be initially meant to increase reach and access in underground mines, may have its revolutionary effect transcending to other sects like planetary exploration, or warehouse and facility automation. It is architecture of the drone platform, flight control system, SLAM and a laser scanner that constitutes this special autonomy mode, autonomy of bat-like environments, or batonomous navigation. Drones as they exist now give sensors wings, they also have primitive minds and eyes, we’re trying to be the next evolutionary step in this eye-mind system that enable robotic birds to fly in underground or similarly dark spaces without any touch of infrastructure.
Inkonova’s aerial robotics solutions has been since 2016 catering for the underground mining market in North America, South America, Africa and Europe with products such as the TILT Ranger, TILT Scout and most recently the Batonomous.