Commercial Robotics

Using Robots to Map Mines

Posted 1 Sep 2002 at 04:56 UTC by steve Share This

A new article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes a growing debate over the use of robots to map abandoned mines. Inaccurate maps of the abandoned Saxman Mine were partly to blame for the recent flooding of Quecreek mine. Now some US Senators are calling for the use of robots to make precise maps of other abandoned mines. Some traditional mining engineers, however, are calling the idea of robot mine mappers "ridiculous".


I don't see why not..., posted 2 Sep 2002 at 02:04 UTC by josborn » (Journeyer)

At AAAI this year we saw several robots making very accurate maps of their environments using laser sensors in the RoboRescue competition.

One of the big problems with making good maps is registering the laser data to your wheel encoders. This can be a bit difficult in small spaces, but for a mine map you'd be fine with resolutions of about a foot, so a little encoder float wouldn't be a problem. You could also use GPS for localization rather than encoders.

Another idea might be having the robot operator identify features in the laser data, which would allow the robot to relocalize, and would bypass the need for super accurate encoders.

Justin

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