The Boston Dynamics Spot Enterprise robot was showcased for the first time at Mining Indaba 2022. This new development is equipped with Maestro’s Industrial Internet of Things (IioT) gas sensor which can be operated on mine sites to detect hazardous gasses like carbon monoxide, without putting mining and ventilation teams in danger. Teams will easily be able to add different gas sensors onto the connected Zephyr Air Quality Station, capturing critical environmental data to proactively identify gas or temperature challenges.

Connected Worker and Robotic Dog Solutions for Safer MiningBoston Dynamics Spot Enterprise is an agile mobile robot designed to navigate all types of terrain, allowing organisations to automate routine inspection tasks, capture data securely and safely, and allow for streamlined operations in complex and dangerous environments.

Delegates viewed Spot ‘in the metal’ with a Zephyr AQS at booth 908 at Dwyka Mining Services Technology, ready to be deployed.

“We are excited to share our new best friend Spot and its amazing capabilities with the delegates of Mining Indaba and the global mining industry. In the spirit of technological collaboration, we have assembled the world’s best mining technologies to be on the stand with us to share and conceptualise end-to-end solutions for maximum impact for our mining clients,” said Jamie van Schoor, CEO of Dwyka Mining Services.

With Spot set to perform several ‘tricks’ from the stand, the four-day conference involved experimentation with a series of partner payloads. These devices that can be attached to Spot, extend the robot’s ability to capture and process data, acting as remote sensing devices this will allow Spot to hear, see and smell in a virtual capacity.

As part of Spot’s introduction to the mining fraternity, delegates walked a mile with Spot from the V&A Waterfront to the CTICC to benefit the NSPCA.

Using the Spot Enterprise on-board processing capabilities, the data is shared over WiFi and gas and temperature sensor readings are captured while the robot is in operation and displayed in real-time via the MaestroLink application. With the addition of a SLAM scanning unit sensor, like the Emesent Hovermap, readings can be saved with precise coordinates in a high-fidelity point cloud that can be exported and examined in a variety of mining software packages.

“Spot is an amazing platform with almost unlimited applications. The ability to get live environmental monitoring data ‘on the go’ by extending our remote sensing capability to ‘smell’ for hazardous gas detection from our new robot dog is very exciting,” said Rethabile Letlala Operations Director of Dwyka Mining Services.

Hazardous gasses that accumulate underground are an invisible threat to mining teams who often don't know they are in danger until it's too late. This gas buildup is created through the exposed strata, blasting, daily "mucking" and even runaway battery fires on critical machinery. Traditionally, the gas levels are measured by the ventilation system at the return air raises or wearable sensors donned by miners. While this fixed infrastructure has saved countless lives, mobile autonomous inspection on aerial and ground robots of strategic areas before re-entry or in emergency situations are the next step to complete real-time coverage.

Dwyka Mining Services is an authorised reseller of Maestro Digital Mine, is a specialised manufacturer of IIoT devices to give mining teams up-to-the-minute information about worker safety underground. With South Africa having many of the world’s deepest and hottest mines, the adoption of innovative solutions for ventilation, occupational health and environmental (VOHE) and extension using automation platforms to ‘make safe’ using proactive visualisation is paramount for industry sustainability.

"The established client base of Maestro Digital Mine environmental sensors will allow us to make the technology mobile for broader applications. We're very excited about this integration with Maestro Digital Mine as a future partner payload for Boston Dynamics Spot Enterprise solution and look forward to continually improving worker safety for whole-of-mine deployment with our new best friend Spot," said van Schoor.

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Nellie Moodley 
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