Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine

Estonian energy group Enefit, which was seeking to identify the pillar conditions of an operation that had been mothballed a decade ago, brought in defence industry company Milrem Robotics to gather information with its unmanned ground vehicle Multiscope
Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine Unmanned vehicle examines Estonian underground mine

Milrem Robotics’ Multiscope surveys exhausted room blocks in Enefit’s Estonia oil shale mine

The Multiscope entered closed sections in the underground Estonia mine where individuals are no longer permitted due to safety concerns.

In the mission, the Multiscope was piloted using data coming from 3-D LiDAR and wide-spectrum HDR cameras, although Milrem officials noted autonomous operation can be applied for future projects.

Enefit pointed out that this was the first time the conditions in a mine's closed room block were examined in this manner.

"Enefit uses smart and innovative solutions to make our production more efficient, to minimise our environmental impact, and prevent occupational safety-related risks. An unmanned vehicle is an excellent solution for conducting surveys in an area which may be unsafe or prohibited for people to enter," Enefit development project director Veljo Aleksandrov said.

He added that the vehicle's mission was successful as the company advances its plans to construct one of the region's largest solar plants atop the abandoned operation.

"We obtained the three-dimensional images and other necessary data which are vital for building a solar power plant on top of the mine," he said.

Enefit's project is expected to generate approximately 3,500MWh of renewable electricity per year. It did not disclose a timeline for the project's completion.

For now, Milrem Robotics has confirmed it is working on different robotics solutions for the civil market and is focusing on autonomous movement in complicated environments.

"Multiscope is a good example of how our technology helps to increase efficiency and complete complex tasks," CEO Kuldar Väärsi said.