Development of a Practical Landmine Searching Robot

M. Freese, T. Matsuzawa, Y. Oishi, P. Debenest, K. Takita, E.F. Fukushima, and S. Hirose (Japan)


demining, mobile manipulator, stereo vision, marking


Robot operation and interaction in unstructured environment is difficult. The problem becomes even more difficult if the environment is hazardous, presents a potentially wide temperature range, and is subject to rain, dust and other natural factors. Such environments are typical for minefields. Landmines still continue to kill, injure and penalize on a daily basis mainly a civilian population. The problem is real and current demining technologies are slow and dangerous, and have virtually not evolved in the last 50 years except for heavy soil digging machines that are limited to well-conditioned terrain. Replacing human deminers or trained dogs in the mine searching task is challenging, and promises better detection capabilities by allowing sensor imaging, increased safety for demining personel and faster progress in the demining process. This paper presents a semi autonomous mine searching robot that was developed with two main goals in mind: building a practical device that can operate in real-world conditions, and testing it in collaboration with demining organizations and real deminers. The robot’s composing elements have been thoroughly tested and the robot itself underwent extensive field tests in Japan, Croatia and Cambodia.

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