Thales would like to use drones for industrial inspections in the future

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An R&D project by Thales to adapt unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for an underground surveying role is underway, with potentially life-saving implications.

Thales’s Optronics business is sharing sensor and electronic design expertise with partners from industry and academia on Prometheus, a miniaturised drone which combines autonomous technology with Lidar sensors to explore caves, abandoned mines and sewer systems, penetrating spaces which are BVLOS of current surveying techniques and GPS-denied environments.

The two-year, £2.2 million project is being funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (delivered by UK Research and Innovation) under the Robotics and AI in Extreme Environments challenge.

Still being tested, Prometheus offers a wide range of commercial applications, inspecting underground infrastructure across the rail, utility, construction, and mining industries as well as search and rescue.



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