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Mines drones and automobiles

Technological innovation is a wave that will never end. In the last few years we have begun to witness significantdevelopments in autonomous mining, dri...

Dale Benton
|Sep 23|magazine9 min read

Technological innovation is a wave that will never end. In the last few years we have begun to witness significant developments in autonomous mining, driverless trucks and in some cases virtual reality to analyse mine site data.

According to a June 2016 report by McKinsey, the mining industry is 28 percent less productive than a decade ago. 

Now it seems that a new wave of innovation will make the analysis of mine data that little bit easier with the announcement that Airwave has acquired drone data analytics pioneer Redbird.

Airware, a company that has been providing Fortune 500 companies with complete enterprise drone solutions has acquired the France based company Redbird and its drone data analytics platform for mining, aggregates and construction industries.

One such company that works with Redbird is mining giant Caterpillar. The company announced the partnership with Redbird in December 2015 to increase and develop the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones to collect drone data and analyse that data with cloud based systems.

In May this year, Caterpillar and Redbird expanded the geographical scope of UAV operations and marketing as a direct result of a significant increase in customer demand. This has seen the UAV data tools offered on a global scale, not simply Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“Construction and excavation sites, such as mines and quarries, must be managed and operated digitally in order to compete in today's markets. Commercial drone technology brings these operations into the digital world while offering faster, cheaper and higher-quality data and analytics,” said Jonathan Downey, founder & CEO of Airware.

 “By acquiring Redbird and incorporating Redbird's powerful analytics tools on top of the Airware platform, we are helping these enterprises make this transition into the digital age."

This new acquisition will see mining companies benefit from 100x more data and potentially 5x faster turnaround on data analytics.

By piloting a drone flight, mine companies can capture high quality aerial data and use that data to create a detailed survey grade mining site map of around 1,000 acres per day, per drone.

Downey said in a blogpost that the mining industry is one that is in need of “serious technological change”.

He cites that companies are still using paper and clipboards, walkie talkies which all in all contributes to less productivity, and judging by that report above – productivity is definitely an issue that needs addressing.

Through the acquisition of Redbird and the partnership with Caterpillar, it seems that Airware and UAV drone data analysis is on the cusp of transforming the data analytic process of the mining industry.


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