GroundProbe’s Geotech Monitoring LiDAR (GML) was awarded the ‘Best Product Innovation’ and ‘Best Overall Innovation’ at the 2018 Australian Financial Review Most Innovative Companies Awards.
Held in the Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, GroundProbe was also ranked number one on the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 List of Most Innovative Companies for 2018.
The GML was awarded the ‘Best Product Innovation’ by the judging panel due to its industry-disrupting nature, evident through the high value problems that it solves. GroundProbe was then awarded the ‘Best Overall Innovation’ for 2018, which is given to the highest scoring innovation across all categories.
“The need for an innovation like the GML was identified as underground mines can be unstable and can collapse without warning, endangering production, equipment, but most importantly, human lives,” said Lachlan Campbell, GroundProbe’s VP of Marketing and Technology.
Prior to the GML, there was no monitoring system capable of detecting sub-millimetre movement of rock and forecasting the time of a collapse. Sub-millimetre accuracy is vital for the early detection of movement. The more accurate the monitoring device, the earlier it can detect movement, and hence the quicker a decision can be made.
“Every time we deploy the GML in a mine, there is a strong likelihood that it will save somebody’s life,” said John Beevers, GroundProbe’s CEO.
“It’s also lauded as a productivity tool, where it’s used to access areas otherwise deemed unsafe or to rehabilitate areas in a targeted way, potentially saving millions of dollars.”
The GML was developed by taking laser scanning technology (LiDAR) and improving its accuracy by over 170 times by applying the patented processing techniques GroundProbe developed for radar physics.
“The biggest challenge was revolutionising the precision of lasers from something that can measure within a centimetre or so, down to something that is so precise it can measure the thickness of a sheet of paper,” said Mr Campbell.
The single biggest impact and ‘real-world’ application the GML has had is at Hidroituango hydroelectric dam in Colombia, where a landslide has blocked a water exit tunnel and the dam is facing collapse.
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated downstream with 250,000 peoples’ lives are at risk if it collapses.
“The GML is currently monitoring all the other tunnels in the dam and is giving invaluable data about the stability of the structure which is critical to helping mitigate and manage the crisis,” said Mr Beevers.
“We are extremely proud to see the GML already helping to improve safety, manage risk, and save lives around the world,” said Mr Beevers.
The Australian Financial Review’s annual list is comprised of the Top 100 innovation companies across Australia, with the 2018 awards attracting more than 1000 nominations.
A panel of industry experts, together with leading innovation consultancy Inventium, rate the submissions based on the idea behind the innovation and how well it addresses the problem it is trying to solve.
The quality and uniqueness of the solution and the level of impact that the solution has had in the real world is also taken into account.
“The field of entrants for the 2018 AFR Most Innovative Companies list is the highest quality we have seen in seven years of judging the list,” said Dr Amantha Imber, Inventium’s CEO.
“Making the 2018 list is a massive achievement and signals that the organisation is not only producing highly impactful innovations, but also has a sustainable approach to growth.”