The Design of Prometheus: A Reconfigurable UAV for Subterranean Mine Inspection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Liam Brown
  • Robert Clarke
  • Ali Akbari
  • Ujjar Bhandari
  • Sara Bernardini
  • Puneet Chhabra
  • Thomas Richardson


The inspection of legacy mine workings is a difficult, time consuming, costly task, as traditional methods require multiple boreholes to be drilled to allow sensors to be placed in the voids. Discrete sampling of the void from static locations also means that full coverage of the area cannot be achieved and occluded areas and side tunnels may not be fully mapped. The aim of the Prometheus project is to develop an autonomous robotic solution that is able to inspect the mine workings from a single borehole. This paper presents the challenges of operating autonomous aerial vehicles in such an environment, as well as physically entering the void with an autonomous robot. The paper address how some of these challenges can be overcome with bespoke design and intelligent controllers. It details the design of a reconfigurable UAV that is able to be deployed through a 150 mm borehole and unfold to a tip-to-tip diameter of 780 mm, allowing it to carry a payload suitable for a full autonomous mission.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number95
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2020

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