Marc Gallant Nominated for Governor General’s Award

Congratulations to MSL alumnus Marc Gallant, now with Quanergy Systems, who was recently nominated by Queen’s University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for his research in robotic geotechnical and his thesis Axis Mapping: The Estimation of Surface Orientations and its Applications in Vehicle Localization and Structural Geology.

Jordan Mitchell Places 3rd at SME Poster Competition

Congrats to MSL’s Jordan Mitchell for placing 3rd in this year’s poster competition at the 2017 SME Annual Conference & Expo and CMA’s 119th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition last week in Denver, CO!  Jordan also recently placed 1st at the 2017 CIM Conference & Exhibition‘s student poster competition in Montreal, QC.

 

Fully Loaded and Super Speedy Underground Vehicles

This year (August 2016 to July 2017) several MSL researchers including Joshua Marshall, Heshan Fernando, Jordan Mitchell, and Lukas Dekker are working full-time from Örebro, Sweden!  This work is part of a unique collaboration between Queen’s MSL, Örebro University‘s Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems, and Atlas Copco Rock Drill AB (Örebro, Sweden), and is jointly funded by NSERC in Canada and the Swedish Knowledge Foundation.

We are now half-way there and so far we have had some really great success.  Our achievements are in no small part due to generous and unprecedented access to Atlas Copco’s Kvarntorp underground test mine and use of their fully-equipped and automation-ready ST14 and ST18 LHD machines!  We have also made some wonderful new friends and are looking forward to many years of continued work together.

MapKey Auto-Rotating Cavity Scanner

Jordan Mitchell is leading the development of our MapKey auto-rotating cavity scanner concept, prototyping, and initial field testing, which is happening on the Örebro University campus in collaboration with AASS.

J. M. Mitchell and J. A. Marshall.  Design of a novel auto-rotating UAV platform for underground mine cavity surveying. To appear in Proceedings of the 2017 SME Annual Conference & Expo and CMA’s 119th National Western Mining Conference & Exhibition, Denver, CO, February 2017.

Auto-Tunable Robotic Loading

Heshan Fernando is leading the development of automatic tuning algorithms for autonomous loading of fragmented rock (see this CIM Magazine article about our ongoing work on this with Atlas Copco), which is happening in collaboration with Atlas Copco Rock Drills AB and in conjunction with field work at the Kvarntorp underground facility.  Heshan is also working Atlas Copco engineers and software developers to create a “load-assist” version of our technology to help operators that use radio-remote controlled LHDs.

ILC+FBL for Fast Autonomous Driving

Lukas Dekker is leading research on a new approach to Iterative learning-based path following for high-accuracy and high-speed autonomous driving of underground mining vehicles.  This work is being carried out using Atlas Copco ST14 and ST18 underground loaders and also at the Kvarntorp underground facility.

MSL’s Contribution to the Handbook of Robotics

The new Springer Handbook of Robotics is out, and what better place to read Chapter 59: Robotics in Mining—written in part by MSL’s Joshua Marshall—than underground on a really big mining robot.

This photo of the Handbook of Robotics was taken underground at the Atlas Copco test facility near Kvarntorp on a robotic ST14 LHD machine.
This photo of the Handbook of Robotics was taken underground at the Atlas Copco Rock Drills AB test facility near Kvarntorp, Sweden on a robotic ST14 LHD machine, a place where Queen’s MSL and Atlas Copco collaborate on mining robotics research.

RockMass Technologies Wins Pitch Competition

Collecting strike and dip measurements with a Brunton compass is tedious and time consuming.  And, in some cases, can be dangerous if you have to get close to unsupported and/or newly excavated rock.  There are other, less developed, ways of doing this by using camera (photogrammetry) or stationary LiDAR measurements, but there can big problems with these methods, including price, accuracy, and the need for significant human input (and error).  Hence, these approaches are not widely used.

For several years now, MSL researchers Marc Gallant and Joshua Marshall have been developing a better way; one that is automatic, mobile, accurate (better than a human?!), safe, and extremely fast.

Introducing the Mining Systems Laboratory’s automated geotechnical mapping system.  It provides a quick and easy way for geotechnical engineers or geologists to automatically generate rich and complete stereonets that map the joint sets of exposed rock cuts, whether these are on surface, underground, or in hard-to-reach places.

This spring, with the support of PARTEQ Innovations, Marc and Josh decided to give some entrepreneurial Queen’s students (via the QICSI program) the chance to exploit their newly developed intellectual property.  Six students took up the challenge and we are happy to report that, after forming the spin-off company RockMass Technologies, they recently won the QICSI pitch competition!  Congrats to RockMass Technologies!  We look forward to working with you on the future of robotic and automated geotechnical mapping …

AxisMapper prototype at Brewer Lake
Axis Mapper prototype at the Brewer Lake field site

MSL Wins Big at 2016 NCFRN Ogopogo Event

Together with co-inventor Joshua Marshall, Mining Systems Laboratory (MSL) technology entrepreneurs Marc Gallant and Jordan Mitchell won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at this year’s NCFRN Ogopogo event.  The Ogopogo event is a Dragons’ Den-like event held annually as part of the NSERC’s NCFRN Annual Meeting, this year in Sudbury, Ontario at Laurentian University.  Ogopogo refers to the lake monster of Okanagan Lake, where the first event was held in 2015.   NCFRN is a national field robotics network, that brings together researchers from across the country to focus on robotics for challenging outdoor applications.

The winning business and technology pitch was given by AxisMapper, a robotic geotechnical tool that is the focus of Marc’s PhD work.  Second place went to MapKey, a novel cavity scanning technology that is the focus of Jordan’s Master’s research.  AxisMapper took home a $10,000 prize, which will be used to develop a demonstrator unit, as well as some business development and market studies.  MapKey took home an $8,000 prize, which will be used to fund prototype development and deployment at an underground facility during the coming year.  For more information about these technologies, contact Joshua Marshall.

A shout-out to Ryan Gariepy at Clearpath for a great job as event MC!

Ogopogo 2016

NSERC Logo

NCFRN Logo (English)

Automated Geotechnical Mapping

Introducing the Mining Systems Laboratory’s automated geotechnical mapping system.  It provides a quick and easy way for geotechnical engineers or geologists to automatically generate rich and complete stereonets that map the joint sets of exposed rock cuts, whether these are on surface, underground, or in hard-to-reach places.  Our system is lightweight, mobile, fast, and accurate.

Related Documents

M. J. Gallant and J. A. Marshall.  Automated rapid mapping of joint orientations with mobile LiDAR.  In the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences, vol. 90, pp. 1-14, December 2016.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrmms.2016.09.014

M. J. Gallant and J. A. Marshall.  The LiDAR Compass: Extremely lightweight heading estimation with axis maps.  To appear in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, available online May 2016.

M. J. Gallant and J. A. Marshall. Automated three-dimensional axis mapping with a mobile platform. In Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Stockholm, Sweden, May 2016.

M. J. Gallant and J. A. Marshall. Two-dimensional axis mapping using LiDAR. In IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 150-160, January 2016.

M. J. Gallant, J. A. Marshall, and B. K. Lynch. Estimating the heading of a Husky mobile robot with a LiDAR compass based on direction maps. Invited paper in Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on Intelligent Unmanned Systems, Montreal, QC, September 2014.

Funding

Funding for this research was provided by in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the NSERC Canadian Field Robotics Network (NCFRN).

NSERC LogoNCFRN Logo (English)

 

Commercial Opportunities

For commercial inquiries, please contact:

Mr. Ramzi Asfour
PARTEQ Innovations
rasfour@parteqinnovations.com
+1 613-533-6000 ext. 78355