Drone based 3d deformation monitoring system

Goal of the project is the development of a drone based 3d deformation monitoring system for tailings dams, embankments etc. In the project the system shall be specified, designed, developed until prototype stage and tested.

Mining activities are often linked with severe risks for the surrounding environment and population as well as for the mine itself. In the past, huge catastrophes and numerous serious incidents (approx. 200 have been reported since 1940) have happened all over the world and have caused casualities and enormous environmental and economical problems. In many cases these incidents have been caused by failing structures such as tailings dams and embankments due to, for example, a poor construction quality or water infiltration. Often these failures could have been predicted and avoided if a suitable deformation monitoring technology would have been available and applied. The currently used monitoring technologies are based on geotechnical instrumentation and terrestrial surveying techniques. Their most basic shortcomings are that they only allow for monitoring a limited number of points at predefined locations, require physical access to the object and only provide geometrical information. The deformation monitoring of the complete object surface with a high spatial resolution and accuracy also providing visual context but without accessing the object cannot be achieved with the current technologies. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), commonly known as drones, are a booming technology. They are already successfully used for surveying and mapping tasks in many different markets (e.g. agriculture, forestry, construction, archaeology). Latest drone types allow for both remote-controlled and automatic flights over large areas of several square km within a few minutes. They can be flexibly equipped with sensors such as high-res cameras, laser scanners, thermal scanners and radar sensors. However, for 3D deformation monitoring drones have not been used so far. Main reasons have been the insufficient accuracy of the results, problems with flight permissions (legal restrictions), the problems of weather condition and vegetation, missing efficient data processing methods and the relatively high costs for equipment and service. Objective of the project DefDrone_3D is to overcome the actual shortcomings and to specify, design, develop and validate/test a drone based 3D deformation monitoring system. The system shall consist of all hard- and software components necessary for the planning and automatic execution of a drone based 3D deformation monitoring mission and for the automatic processing of 3D deformation results. The basic outcome of the project shall be a prototype of the planned system that can be implemented onto the market(s) within a short time after the research project. The new product shall allow for offering high quality deformation monitoring services to targeted clients such as mining companies. The particular research risks and challenges of the project are: * to sufficiently acquire and meet the particular legal and technical requirements and restrictions of using drones in Austria and Chile, * to specify, evaluate, test and decide for suitable drone type(s) and suitable types of sensors, communication devices etc., * to design and develop a suitable method for planning and executing an optimal drone monitoring mission for a particular deformation object like a tailings dam at a mine, * to research and develop sufficiently efficient mathematical methods and algorithms for processing the required high quality deformation results, * to achieve the required high accuracy in the 3D models and their registration in order to derive reasonable deformation results and * to find, investigate and prepare suitable test sites in Austria and in Chile for testing and validating the planned prototype. The DefDrone_3D consortium consists of three company partners that will carry out the project in close cooperation: 1. Main partner is GEODATA Ziviltechnikergesellschaft mbH, an innovative Austrian SME and international supplier of monitoring systems and services. The role of GEODATA is to manage the project, to specify the overall system architecture, to evaluate/develop/acquire/decide the drone, sensors and other components of the planned system for Austria, to develop the information system for data management and to undertake the test and validation in Austria. 2. Second partner is 3GSM GmbH, an Austrian SME specialised in the development of 3D imaging systems and specialised assessment software for the tunnelling and mining industry. The role of 3GSM GmbH is to investigate and develop the needed algorithms and software required for 3D data processing. 3. Third partner is Geodata Andina S.A., a Chilean SME (linked with the main partner) specialised in surveying and monitoring services. The role of Geodata Andina S.A. is to research the particular requirements of drone based survey in Chile, to specify, develop and implement the planned system prototype and service for Chile, to select, investigate and prepare a suitable Chilean test site and to test and validate the prototype at this test site.
Project ID: 
11 254
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Remote sensing technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.