A Roundup of the Latest about Underground Drones and their New Applications

People often immediately think of aerial drones, when they hear the word “drones.”  Some may still associate drones with military use, or in the civilian world designed for fun or recreation.

As an overview, drones are of different kinds and not all are for flying up in the sky.  Drones can also be used on land, underground, and underwater.

Underground drones function in different fields, such as archaeology, mining, geology, and other industries.

Here is a roundup of the latest news involving underground drones and new applications.


For the archaeologist Jesse Casana, midnight is the best time to find things underground. “It’s always in the middle of the night, sometime between late and very late,” he says. Casana, an anthropology professor at Dartmouth, has been testing a new thermal imaging drone for archaeological research. “It’s a very weird kind of archaeology because usually we go and spend weeks and weeks working in the sun. In this case we just go in the middle of the night—once.” – Read full story.


Melrose Arch-based mining technology company Dwyka Mining Services has conducted what it believes is the first Autonomy Level 2 (AL2) flight in South Africa, using a new drone-mounted light detection and ranging (Lidar) technology payload − Hovermap. The Hovermap payload is developed by Brisbane, Australia-based drone autonomy company Emesent. – Continue reading full article

In a related news, the drone used in the above story is DJI’s M300. The flights took place on 4 August at the Round Oak Mt Colin copper mine in Cloncurry, Queensland. and were followed by similarly successful flights at another underground mine in North Queensland on 13 August. Emesent’s Hovermap LiDAR mapping and autonomy payload was used to add advanced autonomy to the newly launched DJI Matrice 300 RTK (M300). – Continue full article here.

To learn more about drone applications in the field of mining, read this academic paper.

Watch the video below:


On an early spring day before crops had begun to sprout and cover the ground, two geologists focused their eyes not on the landscape below them but, instead, upward, on a flying drone, beaming images back to an iPad. The researchers, from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS), were testing a new method using airborne drones equipped with infrared cameras to peek below Earth’s surface. – See full story.


[…] it is difficult for drones to fly inside buildings and technical structures for inspection. And when they collide with something, they usually fall and cannot continue the mission. The Swiss company Flybotix is working on a new type of drone for the inspection of industrial plants. Called the ASIO inspection drone, it is designed specifically for flights in tight spaces and features a protective housing, visible and infrared cameras, and powerful LED illumination. – Continue to read full article.

As these latest happenings indicate, underground drones serve to function in different fields, and with new drone technologies are also new drone applications.


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