World leader in autonomous drone mapping technology, Emesent, has further progressed its vision for mapping the inaccessible by launching Hovermap integration with the Boston Dynamics Spot agile robot.

The integration delivers a powerful combination of Emesent’s autonomous mapping tool – Hovermap – with the dynamic functionality of the Spot robot.

Hovermap is the only SLAM-based LiDAR mapping solution that can easily be switched between drone-based, handheld, and now Spot-based mapping in seconds, providing one solution to capture accurate, complete data in challenging environments.

Emesent officially launched its Hovermap – Spot mapping solution at Geo Week in Denver, 11-13 February at the Colorado Convention Center. It also demonstrated the advanced Hovermap autonomy functions for Spot which it is releasing via an Early Adopter Program.

The solution includes a rugged mount for Hovermap and software integrations which provide a seamless user experience. The mount protects Hovermap in challenging environments and provides power via Spot’s batteries, while still allowing quick and easy attaching and removal of the Hovermap unit. The software integration allows starting and stopping the Hovermap LiDAR scanning via the Spot interface, either during a joystick mission or automatically as a task during Spot AutoWalk missions.

The Hovermap integration augments the Spot platform with key mobile surveying capabilities, including:

Rapid SLAM-based 3D LiDAR mapping that generates high resolution, high density data for accurate visualization and analysis.

AutoWalk scanning missions. Hovermap scans can be started/stopped automatically as tasks during a Spot AutoWalk mission, allowing routine mapping of manufacturing plants, construction sites etc.

Emesent co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Dr Stefan Hrabar says the combined technology has huge potential with its ability to map areas that would otherwise be out of reach.

“There are often places that are too dangerous for people to enter or that drones can’t traverse through. Combining the autonomy and mapping capabilities of Emesent’s Hovermap with Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot allows organizations to extend their physical reach into inaccessible spaces – allowing personnel to virtually enter and understand locations that can’t otherwise be accessed.”

After trialing the Spot robot in various environments for multiple use cases, it became clear that the maneuverability, ruggedness and advanced capabilities of the platform were a perfect fit for Hovermap, and the combination would enable new data capture possibilities for customers.

This includes data capture in areas where people or drones cannot go, whether due to structural instability, confinement of space, or due to hazardous conditions such as toxic gasses or poisonous substances. This is relevant in industries such as construction, engineering, public safety and mining.

Dr Hrabar explains why this capacity to explore further is so valuable.

“It enables personnel to gather insights that might have otherwise been unaccounted for, which can ultimately improve both productivity and safety of current and future projects.”

Emesent has earned a global reputation in autonomous mobile mapping with its Hovermap LiDAR mapping and autonomy payload. Emesent’s technology allows drones to explore and survey challenging indoor or underground environments – including those without GPS reception – to enable valuable insights derived from 3D data, and excels in providing accurate visualizations of high-risk environments such as underground mines.

According to Dr Hrabar, Hovermap and Spot have already been tested in dangerous environments such as post-blast mining sites. “The Hovermap – Spot integration is ideal for below and above-ground surveying, reality capture, and emergency response where speed, versatility and data quality are key. Looking ahead, users will benefit further as we release new autonomous data-capture capabilities, enabling even more efficient operations.”

Emesent is launching an Early Adopter Program targeting mining and engineering companies that want to prototype and experience the difference Hovermap’s autonomy and mapping for Spot can make to their daily workflows. Interested organizations can contact Emesent to learn more.

To learn more about Emesent’s application of the Spot agile robot in post-blast mining environments read this blog or watch this webinar featuring Emesent CTO and co-founder Dr Farid Kendoul.