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SPECIAL FOCUS: DRONES


33-ha stone quarry near Oslo. Asker compared the ground control points that were measured conventionally with those measured using the Aibot X6. T e result: the values measured using the hexacopter are extremely precise. T e intelligent fl ying robot also makes the work of surveyors a lot easier and saves a huge amount of time, according to Magnus Myhre, general manager of Asker Oppmaling. “It’s crazy how much time we save by using the multicopter. We can control the Aibot X6 hexacopter from a central location, which saves us the laborious task of having to walk through the pit.” It would usually take three to four


weeks just to survey the Norwegian quarry using conventional methods, which require the surveyors to walk through the quarry to collect the data. Certain parts, such as dangerous pits and muddy areas, are very diffi cult for them to access and usually cannot be surveyed.


Mining pioneer An early leader in drones for mining was French company Redbird, which was acquired by US drones solution provider Airware in 2016. Redbird pioneered the use of drone data analytics for mining, quarrying and construction. Together, Airware and Redbird


provide a complete off ering for mines and quarries to help digitise and optimise operations.


Airware uses UAVS for data collection Airware is also working with Luck


Stone, the construction aggregate division of Luck Companies. As an early adopter of UAV technology, Luck Stone now owns a small fl eet of UAVs that are deployed several times a week to collect data at many of the company’s 22 operations in Virginia and North Carolina, USA. Another corporate investment in this fast-evolving fi eld of expertise was dedicating an associate to be a full-time licensed UAV pilot.


“We recognised the need to


acquire greater amounts of accurate, repeatable data from the air that could be easily accessed and analysed for improved operational effi ciency,” says John Blackmore, survey and mapping supervisor at Luck Stone. “UAV technology is changing


Airware drone data is used for blast mapping 12 www.engineerlive.com


rapidly, so we began talking with Airware and evaluating all of the drone solutions on the market,” he explains. “We were very impressed with Airware’s advanced, end-to-end UAV data collection processes and powerful analytics tools that were developed specifi cally for the mining and aggregate industry, which led to this exciting partnership.” While fl ying above the Luck Stone operations, UAVs take hundreds of aerial photos that will be uploaded to Airware’s cloud-based platform. T e business intelligence resulting from those images will be used for a wide variety of decision-making purposes to include volumetric measurements, safety inspections, and pit effi ciency analytics. ●


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