Mining has long been known as one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Deep underground, workers can fall victim to sudden cave-ins, floods, or the leak of toxic fumes. Once upon a time mining teams would bring a canary with them to act as an early warning sign for potentially lethal vapors. These days the mining industry has a new flying friend helping to make the job safer.
We are used to seeing drones up in the sky, but increasingly this technology is being used to help explore, map and inspect mine shafts underground as well. Emesent, an Australian tech startup, has created a solution called Hovermap that allows drones to autonomously navigate through tight, dark spaces, even when there is no GPS available. It uses LiDAR to sense and map the world around itself, creating data-rich 3D models that can later be used to track the structural integrity of these areas.