Israeli drone provider Airobotics has unearthed a rich deposit of new business – digging up an exclusive distribution partnership with mining engineering firm RockBlast.
The deal will deploy the company’s fully autonomous drones to patrol mining sites in Chile.
The agreement also makes RockBlast the first company to introduce a fully autonomous drone system into South America for the mining industry.
More than 60 larger mining firms operate across Chile in both open and underground sites. RockBlast and Airobotics will specifically work with Minera Centinela to help optimize the company’s 24/7 operational setup.
“We’re successfully implementing our autonomous drones with Tier 1 mining companies in the US, Australia and Israel, and we’re excited to expand our operations into Chile,” said Ran Krauss, CEO and Co-Founder of Airobotics. “The Optimus drone will help improve Minera Centinela’s competitiveness in the market, increase efficiency, and improve safety for its employees. Our partnership with RockBlast will also allow us to deliver our disruptive technology to mines across Chile improving the overall mining industry in the country.”
Company officials say that drones and other automated solutions boost mining productivity by 25 percent.
According to an Airobotics’ press release the new system’s functions will cover:
- “Stockpile volumes and end-of-month reconciliation
- Terrain mapping and change detection
- Asset management and scheduling
- Situational awareness and emergency response
- Infrastructure and equipment inspection
- Security and surveillance”
“Drones have positioned themselves as a technological tool of high value throughout the world, particularly in mining. As part of the growing digitization of information in mining, the data obtained by drones has become an essential factor for decision making in the different stages of the mining process and RockBlast, together with Airobotics, is a part of this new era,” said Horacio Gutierrez Abelaida, CEO of RockBlast.
Airobotics’ expansion into the mining sector comes on the heels of the firm “striking gold” in a successful funding round last year of $32.5 million led by BlueRun Ventures China, as well as Microsoft Ventures, OurCrowd.com and another strategic investor.
Investors such as CRV, BRV, Noam Bardin (CEO of Waze), Richard Wooldridge (former COO/GTM of building 8 at Facebook and former COO of Google ATAP) and David Roux (Co-Founder and former Chairman of Silver Lake Partners) also contributed to the funding round.