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Drone startup opens Sudbury office to service mining industry

Exyn Technologies specializes in autonomous drone survey technology

A U.S. drone survey startup has opened an office in Sudbury to better serve mining operations in Northern Ontario and across Canada.

Exyn Technologies announced on Jan. 21 it’s located its first international office at the NORCAT Underground Centre in Onaping, where the company will have access to a working test mine and newly constructed offices and meeting space.

Exyn develops fully autonomous industrial drones that can fly anywhere. Specifically, they’re designed for environments in which GPS won’t work, such as underground mines. Exyn’s target markets include construction, infrastructure inspection, and military surveillance and reconnaissance.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, the company is a spinout of the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) Laboratory, a world-renowned robotics incubator, which “fosters collaboration between students, research staff and faculty focusing on research in vision, perception, control systems, automation, and machine learning,” according to the lab.

“We are very optimistic about this expansion and the opportunities to both support our Canadian customers as well as further product development,” Nader Elm, Exyn Technologies’ CEO, said in a news release.

“The Sudbury office will be strategically important to supporting our innovation plans and ensuring we stay on the cutting edge of mining automation.”

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Autonomous drone technology like Exyn’s is gaining sector interest for its ability to improve efficiency, increase worker safety, and access previously unreachable areas.

An Exyn drone flight is fully automated from the time it receives a mission to the time it returns to its docking station.

Data collected on the flight is uploaded automatically to industry software, such as AutoCAD, which can then be used to make development decisions.

Dundee Precious Metals, a Canadian base metals producer with assets in Africa and Europe, is a client.

“NORCAT’s mandate is to help start and accelerate the growth of innovative companies that will drive future economic and social prosperity,” Don Duval, CEO at NORCAT, said in the release.

“We’re excited to be working with Exyn Technologies and providing our unique resources and services at the NORCAT Underground Centre to support the continued growth of this exceptional tech company.

“We’re looking forward to all we can accomplish together in 2021 and beyond.”

In addition to its newly built Underground Centre, NORCAT offers incubation space and skills training from its office location in the north end of the city.