I suppose when you send a robot out to clear mines, it is a whole lot less stressful than being out there in the open field by yourself, taking very special care not to disturb anything untoward under the ground. Better have a robot blow up than me, right? The University of Coimbra in Portugal decided to make good use of their donated Husky UGV by Clearpath Robotics in transforming it to function as an autonomous mobile mine detector.
The normal Husky robot was not meant to detect mines from the get go, which is why one needs to perform and make the necessary adjustments. The team over at Coimbra decided to throw in relevant sensors for navigation and localization purposes (GPS, stereo vision, and a laser), in addition to a customized two-degrees-of-freedom arm which has been equipped with a metal detector as well as a ground penetrating radar system. Unfortunately, there are way too many landmines out there (over a hundred million by some estimates), and we cannot have too many robots to help get the job done. Hopefully such robots will be a whole lot more affordable to countries that need such help in clearing up the various landmines, although we have seen some pretty creative possible solutions in the past.
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