LiDAR-based 3D mapping device concepts and low volume manufacturing

MistyWest combined the pre-existing, groundbreaking LiDAR mapping and autonomous navigation products from Exyn Technologies into one single, modular package.


Exploring mines shuttered since World War II, and meticulously mapping modern operations, requires advanced technologies capable of navigating complex underground environments autonomously.

Considered a pioneer in subterranean mapping, Exyn Technologies developed the ExynAero – the world’s first Level 4 autonomous drone for GPS-denied spaces. The ExynAero can explore and map complex environments without requiring a human pilot or defined waypoints. For spaces too narrow for drone flight, Exyn also developed the ExynPak; a handheld device with the same Lidar and camera sensor package as the ExynAero.

Seeing an increasing demand for a modular system which could be mounted to a drone and used as a handheld device, Exyn approached MistyWest for conceptual designs and prototyping of a new commercial product line that would unite the ExynAero and ExynPak. At the same time, Exyn was also looking to improve ruggedization, reduce weight and size, and design for scalable manufacturing. 

Autonomous Exploration of Water-logged Stope.

The Solution

MistyWest conducted competitor and user research to identify user pain points, behaviors and unmet needs, helping identify 3 design directions which would enable Exyn’s customers to rapidly transition from drone-mounted to hand-carried mapping. The shortlisted concept was translated into a low-fidelity prototype for ergonomic experimentation, followed by fabrication of a high-fidelity ‘looks-like’ prototype that was user-tested against the existing ExynPak to inform key areas of usability refinements.

Following successful user-testing results, a phase of detailed engineering work was kicked off to create a fully functional, robust core sensor module and accessories for hand-carrying and drone-mounting. Low-volume manufacturing was established to enable an early release to the market and provide time for traditional contract manufacturers to ramp up production.

Following successful user-testing, a phase of technical de-risking and detailed engineering work was kicked off to create a fully functional, robust device for hand-carrying and drone-mounting. The integrated prototypes that MistyWest developed were used for a public demo at the CES conference, as well as engineering verification testing by MistyWest and Exyn.

Subsequently, low-volume manufacturing was established by MistyWest for bridging the gap to a fully-fledged contract manufacturer. This enabled Exyn to get their product to market as quickly as possible and start generating revenue and customer feedback.


In less than one year from the start of the initial research phase, MistyWest enabled Exyn to successfully launch the new modular product line called Nexys ahead of GeoWeek 2024 in Denver, CO.

In environments that are difficult to access and potentially hazardous, the ability to survey faster and more accurately is mission-critical. The resulting product from MistyWest and Exyn’s collaboration will enable smoother operation at end-client facilities thanks to the ability to rapidly transition from drone-mounted to hand-held mapping with the same core sensor module.


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