Work in progress: Robotics mapping of landmine and UXO contaminated areas

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Explosive remnants of war like landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) are a serious threat in post conflict environments around the World. Aside from the killing and injury of many people the landmines and UXO have a significant impact on the local economy due to inac- cessible roads and loss of fertile agricultural areas.

The Biosystems Engineering Groups at the University of Southern Denmark and Aarhus University, Denmark, have developed several autonomous terrain robots for use in semi structured and unstructured dynamical environments. This article presents a work in progress applying the knowledge and experience from the agricultural plant nursing robotics domain to demining applications.

The aim is to have a reliable, efficient and user-friendly autonomous robot capable of mapping as well as visually marking detected landmines and UXO within a bounded area. The operator specifies the area boundary by steering the robot along the perimeter using a simple and intuitive remote control, and the robot will then perform a complete coverage of the bounded area. The robot is considered a tool carrier and as such it may utilize various mine detection im- plements like for instance the Wide Area Detection System (WADS) developed by the organization Danish Church Aid.

Current status of the project is that the first autonomous area coverage tests have been performed successfully using Casmobot, a tracked mower platform capable of working in rough terrain including steep slopes. An improved modular platform design with ample room for a mine detection im- plement is almost finished and will form the base for further experiments.

The area coverage algorithm is being improved to handle static and dynamical obstacles as well as slopes. Detection of obstacles will be performed using a 3D laser range scan- ner and possibly stereo vision. Current pose estimation is based on a dual RTK-GPS unit, but a gyro will be added to improve the driving precision. Software components will be released as open-source for others to build upon.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date26 May 2011
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 26 May 2011
Event5th IARP RISE 2011 - Brussels - Leuven, Belgium

Workshop

Workshop5th IARP RISE 2011
CountryBelgium
CityBrussels - Leuven
Period20/06/201121/06/2011

    Keywords

  • humanitarian demining, mobile robotics, WADS
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