Navigation system for UAVs make it possible to search for minerals – Aerotomography

Specialists of Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics (TUSUR) have successfully carried out the first tests of a navigation system for unmanned aerial vehicles, which will make it possible to create drones to search for minerals, in particular, diamonds and iron ore. 

The development, which has no analogues on the civilian market, will be handed over to the customer in Novosibirsk in the summer, Fyodor Zakharov, head of the research laboratory of radio navigation at the Research Institute of RTS TUSUR.


“Experimental tests of the navigation system have now begun, the first tests have been carried out and have been carried out quite successfully. It [the system] is necessary so that the drone can determine its position in space with an accuracy of half a meter – the coordinates and flight altitude.  to determine the height to the surface of the earth, and not to the nearest obstacle, as modern orientation systems do now – to trees or shrubs. How will this help in the search for solid minerals? They can be found with the help of equipment that geophysicists attach to the drone, by magnetic  field of the Earth, which must be measured at different heights, and the height is measured precisely from the soil, “Zakharov said.

He specified that using this method, it will be possible to search for diamond pipes, iron ore deposits, accumulations of polymetallic ores and valuable minerals in the bowels of the earth.  The more accurately you can determine the position of the drone in space, the more likely it is to detect magnetic field anomalies, which are an identifier for the presence of minerals.

In addition, the development has an improved communication system that allows the drone to stay connected to the base station in mountainous areas.  Due to its features, it allows both searching for fossils and performing environmental monitoring in hard-to-reach places.

There are no civilian analogues of such a system, and there is no information about the military.  The prototype will be refined, scientists plan to work out its algorithms for orientation in space.  The customer – geophysicists of the Novosibirsk State University – will be handed it over in the summer of 2021.

The development is carried out within the framework of the Russian project “Aerotomography”, which is being implemented on the basis of the Novosibirsk State University in cooperation with the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics named after V.I.  A.A. Trofimuk SB RAS.  The project received support from the interdepartmental working group of the government of the Russian Federation and development funds from the National Technology Initiative Project Support Fund.

Our aero-complex was created by a team of geophysicists, geologists, engineers, physicists and software developers at the junction of innovative technologies on the base of Novosibirsk State University and Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics SB RAS. We are continuing our development, striving to make it even better and to add more diversified tools with the help of specialists from Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radio-electronics and Tomsk Polytechnic University. At this time, more than a 100 specialists of various profiles are working with us on the project.