Polish mining group tests drone for aerial maps

Poland's state-owned mining conglomerate, PGNiG, has announced it is testing a drone which will take aerial photographs that will be used to search for natural gas and oil.

In a statement released on Wednesday, PGNiG said the machine has been designed by the start-up company BZB UAS, with whom the mining group has been working in the technology accelerator, MIT Enterprise Forum Poland.

Now the drone's creators can test it with the aid of expert geodesists, PGNiG added.

The machine is built from EPO foam, strengthened with composite materials and equipped with sub-assemblies printed on a 3D printer.

"A small autonomous plane with an optoelectronic head will be utilised in creating spatial models of areas designated for research and subsequent drilling - but it must be thoroughly tested first," the statement explained.

Thus the drone will carry out much of the field work usually done by geodesists, freeing them to conduct the main part of the design work in the office.

Praising the creativity and technology behind the drone, PGNiG Deputy CEO Lukasz Kroplewski noted BZB UAS has used 3D printing and open source software.

"Test flights will allow us to adjust the solution to our needs," the PGNIG manager added.