Mars on Earth [2014]

Malaquais 3rd year studio work
Teacher : Pierre Cutellic

The aim of the Mars on Earth project is to define an autonomous system able to clean up and exploit ressources of any Acid Mine Drainage, a particular type of environmental disaster caused by mining waste.  We chose an emblematic AMD located in Spain, the Rio Tinto River, as a case study.

The system consists of a set of drones that are using electrolysis to collect ore particles. As the drones are able to exchange data, their behaviour is guided by global and local rules in order to be as effective as possible during the process. Their artificial intelligence is based on the three following optimization principles :

1. finding the areas with the highest amount of metal particles

2. repositioning in real time the relay station locations containing the collected ore in order to make the path to the ressources and to the mother station as short as possible

3. defining the frequency at which the drones will carry the ore stock from one relay station to another until it reaches the mother station, in order to avoid stock overage at any point of the process.

The whole system has been simulated in Processing with the aim to be projected and mapped on a terrain model previously milled in a foam bloc by a 6 axis robot. Some electrolysis experiments were also conducted as a proof of concept.