A Queensland based robotics company is redefining mine safety standards with its droids in the same way canaries helped miners evade dangerous gases in mines more than a century ago.
Brisbane-based Australian Droid and Robot (ADR) is building robots that can detect toxic gases, perform deep underground mining inspections, remote inspection of inaccessible areas through specially designed ground and aerial robots.
ADR AI and Perception Manager Mat Allan said the robots were lifting mine safety standards.
While the practice of sending miners underground with a canary to check the sensitivity of gases has been stopped, the practice of sending miners into the mine with gas detectors is still being carried out,” Mr Allan said.
“We are still putting lives and the health of workers at risk through this practice which can easily be reversed by sending robots without exposing people to that danger.”
ADR believe they are one of the first companies to provide a fit-for-purpose tool for mining companies to use in its day-to-day operations enabling the safe re-entry into a mine after blasting.
Historically, miners would go underground with a canary because of its sensitivity to toxic gases like carbon monoxide that would otherwise be dangerous for humans.
If the bird stopped chirping, the miners knew they had to evacuate. Canaries were used in mines until the 1980s when British legislation outlawed the practice and ordered miners to replace canaries with electronic carbon monoxide sensors.
ADR, which started in 2013, specialises in robotics, drones, and automation to deliver safe, cost-effective, and reliable solutions for sectors including defence, mining and emergency services.
ADR’s Explora XL Robot, a rugged portable robotic platform, can support data collection in dangerous or hazardous environments where human entry is not possible or practical.
Weighing just 23kg, the Explora XL is integrated with a 3D mapping system, multi-gas detector (up to six gases), thermal cameras, lighting systems, ventilation monitoring equipment, and various other tools.
Mr Allan said gas detecting robots could also assist mines with greater efficiencies such as enabling a quicker and safer return to productive mining operations.
“Blasting results in large quantities of gases being released that displace oxygen, which can release toxic fumes causing serious breathing difficulties and other health issues. To re-enter these areas, trained people with a gas detector progressively attempt to enter the affected areas. If gas concentrations are too high, they retreat. This process may take an hour, or sometimes a full shift, to complete,” he said.
“However now with the development of our robots we can allow the re-entry inspection task to be conducted sooner, after a blast and without the significant risk to operation personnel, whist also providing critical operational information for the mining team to plan the next stage of work in that area.”
About Australian Droid and Robot
Australian Droid and Robot (ADR) deliver cutting-edge technology to companies right across Australia. Taking the world’s best technology and innovation and adapting and modifying it to meet the needs of Australian companies and Government agencies, ADR is changing the way businesses operate. ADR supplies a range of products and services including:
- Industrial Robotics and Automation;
- Drone and Robot Services; and
- Custom Robot Solutions.
Currently focussed on the Defence, Mining and Emergency Services sectors, ADR’s experience and expertise are bringing global best practice to deliver safer, more cost-effective and more reliable solutions.
For more information about ADR head to: https://www.australiandroid.com.au