AI News, Unstoppable Robot Eats Landmines for Breakfast

Unstoppable Robot Eats Landmines for Breakfast

The hull of the robot is made up of hardened steel plates in a 'V' shape to help limit any damage from antitank mines and unexploded shells of sizes up to 81mm, and the D-3 has been able to successfully ingest mines containing as much as 8 kilograms of explosive, which is nothing to sneeze at.

At full throttle, the D-3 can reliably clear a comforting 100 percent of landmines from the ground at a rate of 1,000 square meters per hour [about 10,000 square feet per hour], while also divesting the land of any unwanted shrubbery and unlucky mole colonies.

Expect it to eventually be able to obey pretty specific instructions like 'go here,' as opposed to commands like 'hey, why don't you find a spot where you think there might be landmines, beat it into a pulp, and come back when you're done.'


In some situations, clearing landmines is a necessary condition before other humanitarian programs can be implemented.[1] A large-scale international effort has been made to test and evaluate existing and new technologies for humanitarian demining, notably by the EU, US, Canadian and Japanese governments and by the Mine Action Centres of affected countries.[2][3] Currently, Afghanistan and Iraq is consuming the largest amount of demining funds, with 24.8% and 15.1% respectively of the global spending on humanitarian demining.[4] The main methods used for humanitarian demining on land are: manual detection using metal detectors and prodders, detection by specially trained mine detection dogs, and mechanical clearance using armored vehicles fitted with flails, tiller or similar devices.

There is an organization, APOPO, that is training African rats to detect landmines much as dogs do, offering a local solution to countries in Africa.[5] In many circumstances, the only method that meets the United Nations' requirements for effective humanitarian demining, the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS),[6] is manual detection and disarmament.[7] The process is typically slow, expensive and dangerous, although demining can be safer than construction work if procedures are followed rigorously.[8] New technologies may provide effective alternatives.

Metal detectors were first used, after their invention by the Polish officer Józef Kosacki.[9] Allies used his invention, known as the Polish mine detector, to clear the German mine fields during the Second Battle of El Alamein when 500 units were shipped to Field Marshal Montgomery.[10][11] The 'Polish' mine detector was later used together with the ERA mine-locator for detecting beach mines.[12] The first step in manual demining is to scan the area with metal detectors,[13] which are sensitive enough to pick up most mines but which also yield about one thousand false positives for every mine.[7] Some mines, referred to as minimum metal mines, are constructed with as little metal as possible - as little as 1 gram (0.035 oz) - to make them difficult to detect.

First developed in 1954 by the British as overshoes that are first inflated by the combat soldier, this specialized footwear has become a needed item for some demining operations.[20] In demining, once an object has been detected it is removed by one of the following methods: Some removal methods that are not applied in humanitarian demining, but are common in mine clearance, include: Along the China-Vietnam border are numerous minefields.

When the teams have cleared the mines, they would walk over the field hand in hand themselves to show to the locals that all the mines have been cleared.[26] In 2003, the Rand Corporation published a comprehensive report on innovative methods of landmine detection.[27] Conventional metal detectors rely on electromagnetic signals with frequencies of the order of 10–100 kHz, which are not sensitive to plastic or wooden mine bodies and the high explosive block itself.

Research by the University of Montana has revealed that honey bees can, with minimal training, be used to detect landmines with a far greater accuracy and far higher clearance rate than dogs or rats.[28] Recent experiments with the Gambian giant pouched rat, also known as the African giant pouched rat, have indicated that it has the required sensitivity to smell, can be trained reliably with food-reward incentives, and is typically too small to set off the mines.[29] These rats also offer a local solution to many African countries because they are indigenous to East Africa.

Additionally, experiments with electrode-guided rats suggest that demining could one day be accomplished by guiding 'ratbots' into areas that humans are unable to reach.[30] Engineer Thrishantha Nanayakkara and colleagues at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka have come up with a method where a dwarf mongoose is trained to detect landmines by smell and guided by a remote-controlled robot.[31][32] The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program uses sea lions and dolphins, among other species, in the detection of seamines.[33] The mustard Arabidopsis thaliana, one of the best-studied plants in the world, normally turns red under harsh conditions.

The motivation for this technique is that explosives contain much higher concentrations of hydrogen, which is a very effective moderator of neutrons.[40] It is possible to detect land mines by directing sound waves at the area to be demined, which causes the land mines to vibrate, and then using a laser to search for vibrations on the surface by means of the Doppler shift - this technique is termed scanning laser doppler vibrometry.

Their intended drones will be able to perform flyovers and gather images at various wavelengths which, according to Dr John Day from the University of Bristol, could indicate explosive chemicals seeping from landmines into the surrounding foliage as 'chemicals in landmines leak out and are often absorbed by plants, causing abnormalities' which can be detected as 'living plants have a very distinctive reflection in the near infrared spectrum, just beyond human vision, which makes it possible to tell how healthy they are'.[44] In the 2015 $1 million Drones for Good competition, Spanish company CATUAV was selected as a finalist for a drone fitted with optical sensors to scan war-affected regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina for landmines buried during the 1990s.[44][45][46][47] The Dutch Mine Kafon project, led by designer Massoud Hassani is working on a drone system that can quickly detect and clear land mines.


Selon l'ONG, la machine employée au Sénégal permettrait de couvrir en une heure la superficie qu'une équipe de démineurs manuels, aidés par des chiens, peuvent couvrir en un jour.

Elle constitue également un atout face aux mines qui contiennent trop peu de métal pour être décelées par les détecteurs ou qui sont trop dangereuses pour que les hommes et les chiens s'en approchent (mines à fragmentation).

In rural areas, its main tool is the DIGGER D-250, a 12-ton armored and remote controlled machine capable of destroying mines buried up to 20 centimeters into the ground.

As a Swiss-based, non profit organization specialized in high-technology and robotics equipment dedicated to humanitarian demining, the Foundation will address the new challenge of demining safely in urban areas with the DOME project (Digger Management and Operating Environment).

                            Leveraging almost 20 years of field experience, the DOME project combines robotics, bionic systems and pragmatism to bring an effective, reliable and cost-efficient solution adapted to this new reality of urban mine clearance.

The DOME solution is to use mass produced construction machines which will be transformed into robots and tele-operated from a safe distance with the help of cameras, controllers and virtual reality goggles.

After a quick mention of the differences between the Caterpillar Corporation and the Digger Foundation, the Caterpillar’s representative Yves-Alain Tschirren highlighted the common aspect of both companies: to leverage a passion with the aim of producing the best machines on the market for the clients.

KEYSTONE/Lukas Lehmann From left to right: Minister Alain Berset (Federal Department of Home Affairs ), Minister Simonetta Sommaruga (Federal Department of Justice and Police), Minister Doris Leuthard  (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications), Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann (Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research), Minister Ueli Maurer (Federal Department of Finance), Minister Didier Burkhalter (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs), Minister Guy Parmelin (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport), Chancellor Walter Thurnherr (Federal Council's Chief of Staff) The Digger Foundation, represented by its director, Mr. Frederic Guerne, its Chief of production and a civilian volunteer, had the privilege to present itself to the ministers of the Swiss Federal Council (the highest executive authority in the country) during the traditional summer « government's field trip » on July 7th in St-Imier, Bernese Jura.

The ministers all listened attentively to the explications on humanitarian mine clearance given by Mr. Guerne. Luckily, the D-250 was still in Switzerland: had the event taken place a week later, the machine would have been on its way to Angola.  The Digger Foundation is proud to have been chosen, among other firms, to represent the creativity and dynamism of the region to the Swiss highest authority.  From left to right: Frédéric Guerne (Digger, Founder and General Manager), Gentien Piaget (Digger, Deputy Director and Head of Operations) Calvin Ruysen (HALO Trust, Regional Director- Southern Africa Region), Dennis Hadrick (U.S.

didactic day in Geneva, devoted to present the mine clearance means: in Geneva, Digger Foundation has been invited by the GICHD to presente our brand new SMART system for mine detection dogs (co-financed by the GICHD and World Without Mines).

In order to make a bold statement, we as MA community have to stand together and have one joint, strong message about our daily battle: Together, we work for a world without mines and explosive hazards.

simple action: take a picture with the red triangle, write the # on a piece of paper, on a wall or on the palm of your hand… and show you care by posting a picture on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

There is a simple website where the triangle can be downloaded from for print and where all the activity related to the # will be seen: The goal is to get people committed and aware of this “forgotten plight”, stressing the international community to step in for the completion of the necessary mine-clearing work.

Sometimes, a picture is enough to make the difference… The climax of this action will occur on the 4th April with numerous events in difference places in Switzerland. The program of DIGGER for this day will be communicated very soon…  The documentary Nettoyeurs de Guerre will be presented at the Centre de culture ABC in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Here is the teaser !  Le Royal – TavannesGrand-Rue 282710 Tavannes Téléphone : +41 32 481 43 29 In Mozambique, in 2012, we started a project in collaboration with the organization APOPO.

Le samedi 22 août, la journée de l’aide humanitaire, organisée par le PEV (Parti Evangélique) se déroulera sur le site de l’arsenal de Tavannes où notre fondation tient ses locaux.

Ce long métrage, réalisé par Orane Burri, documentariste neuchâteloise, se plonge dans l’univers du déminage au sein de notre organisation.

On découvre alors les coulisses de ce milieu qui soulève parfois de fortes émotions et de grands moments de doutes.

Mozambique is known to be among countries most seriously affected by anti-personnel land mines, due to fight for independence and civil war, from 1964 to 1992. Mine clearance has already allowed thousands of farmers to repossess their fields and to start production again.In stating Tete province free of mines, IND reaches a new  step in the process of mine clearance of the country, clearance which is to succeed totally.

More information In French: Frédéric Guerne, Directeur de la Fondation Digger, a eu la joie de remettre officiellement une DIGGER D-250, machine de déminage de dernière génération, aux mains du vice-ministre de la défense de Bosnie-Herzégovine, Živko Marjanac.

La Fondation Digger, basée à Tavannes dans le Jura-bernois, a été fondée dans un garage il y a 16 ans par quelques agriculteurs et ingénieurs.

Soutenue par plusieurs milliers de citoyens de sa région (BEJUNE) et de toute la Suisse, elle est spécialisée dans la fabrication de machines de déminage humanitaire.

Présente en Bosnie-Herzégovine depuis 2009 avec une DIGGER D-3, la Fondation Digger a assisté aux crues qui ont dévasté une grande partie des Balkans, générant ainsi une nouvelle menace : certaines mines ont été déplacées en dehors des zones où elles avaient été localisées.

Alarmée par cette situation, la Fondation Digger a mis sur pied, en mai dernier, une action urgente de collecte de fonds dans le but de fournir une machine de déminage télécommandée DIGGER D-250 et un équipement spécialement conçu pour les interventions dans les zones de glissement de terrain, soit un budget de CHF 778'260.-.

Après plusieurs mois de démarche, la Fondation Digger a réuni la quasi-totalité de la somme avec l’aide de nombreux bailleurs privés et institutionnels *.

C’est avec une grande joie et fierté que Frédéric Guerne a pu remettre symboliquement la télécommande, le mercredi 19 novembre, au vice-Ministre de la défense de Bosnie-Herzégovine, Monsieur Živko Marjanac.

Sur le terrain, l’organisation humanitaire Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), propriétaire de la machine, et le Bataillon de déminage de l’Armée bosnienne assureront la gestion du projet.

Si l’on se souvient que la Bosnie-Herzégovine est un des pays le plus pollués par les mines de la planète, cet outil capable de traiter plus de 4000 m² de terrain par jour ne sera pas de trop pour venir en aide à cette population, déjà si éprouvée.

* Caisse de Secours Mennonite (FR), Canton de Genève Service de la solidarité internationale, Chaîne du Bohneur, Délégation Genève Ville Solidaire, Doopsgezind WereldWerk (NL), Fondation Coromandel, Fondation Digger, Fondation DSR, Fondation Pro Victimis, Fondation Rodeo (Rotary Club), Hybrid SA, Mennonitisches Hilfswerk (DE), Regierungsrat des Kantons Basel-Stadt, Swiss Mennonite Mission (SMM) In German: Frédéric Guerne, Direktor der Stiftung Digger war begeistert, eine DIGGER D-250, der neuesten Generation der Minenräumung Maschine in den Händen der stellvertretendeVerteidigungsminister von Bosnien und Herzegowina, Živko Marjanac, offiziell ein zu reichen.Diese Maschine ist mit der Finanzierung von mehreren, meistens Schweizerischen, Organisationen zur Verfügung gestellt worden.

Die Stiftung Digger, in Tavannes im Berner Jura gelegt, ist vor 16 Jahren in einer Garage von ein paarBauern und Ingenieure gegründet worden. Seitdem hat es sich zu einem grossen internationalenPlayer im mechanisierten Kampf gegen die Minen entwickelt. Mit der Unterstützung von Tausenden Bürgern der Gegend (BEJUNE) und von der ganzen Schweiz, spezialisiert sich das Unternehmen in der Herstellung von Maschinen humanitärer Minenräumung.

Schon anwesende in Bosnien und Herzegowina seit 2009 mit einem DIGGER D-3, besuchte dieStiftung Digger die Überschwemmungen die einen Grossteil des Balkans verwüsteten und damiteine neue Bedrohung erzeugten: einige Minen wurden verschoben ausserhalb der Bereiche in denen sie sich befanden.  Von dieser Situation beunruhigt hat die Stiftung Digger im letzten Maidringende Fundraising Massnahmen gestartet um einen Projekt zu lancieren basierend auf eine Fernbediente Minenräumung Maschine DIGGER D-250 mit spezifisch entwickelten Geräte fürInterventionen in Erdrutsch Bereichen, d.h. ein Budget von CHF 778'260.-.

Die DIGGER D-250 wird in erster Linie in den Bezirk Brčko arbeiten, ein der stärksten vermintenGebiete des Landes. Wenn wir bedenken dass Bosnien und Herzegowina ein der stärksten vonMinen verseucht Länder in der Welt ist, wird dieses Tool nicht überflüssig sein, der über 4000 m²pro Tag verarbeiten kann, um diese Bevölkerung im Not zu helfen.

Mine flail

A mine flail is a vehicle-mounted device that makes a safe path through a mine-field by deliberately detonating land mines in front of the vehicle that carries it.

A test rig was constructed in South Africa and results were so encouraging that du Toit was promoted and sent to England to develop the idea.[1] Before du Toit left for England, he described his idea to Captain Norman Berry, a mechanical engineer who had been sent to South Africa in 1941 to evaluate the system.

When Berry heard of this, he handed over his work to Girling (who had had no idea he was duplicating du Toit's current work in England, as that was still highly secret).[citation needed] David Gustanski made the device that connected to the side of the tank and made the flail raise and lower.

One unexpected effect was that the noise, dust and terrifying appearance of an approaching flail tank caused several Axis infantry units to surrender without resistance.[citation needed] After the battle, a Mark II version of the Scorpion was produced by removing the main gun, as that was thought to be unnecessary.

Meanwhile, in Britain, du Toit (as unaware of developments in North Africa as they were of his), working with AEC Limited, had developed the Matilda Baron.[4] The Baron's problem was that, like the Scorpion, the rotor was powered by external, auxiliary engines that made it too wide to cross a Bailey bridge and which had to be removed if it was to be transported by rail.[2] Curran Brothers of Cardiff constructed 60 Barons, but they were only used for demonstrations and training.[4] A

The addition of a gearbox was required to maintain the correct flail speed when the tank was traveling slower, such as while climbing.[6] An innovation was the addition of cutters to the rotor that cut barbed wire and stopped the flail from becoming tangled.

A Teller mine buried up to 5 inches (13 cm) deep would be set off, but the resulting explosion would destroy a single flail chain, which would have to be replaced at some point.[9] The Crab could only move at 1.25 miles per hour (2 km/h) when flailing, and the gun had to point to the rear, so the tank could not fire even if the gunner could see his target.

By the final months of the war, German minefields had ceased to be a major problem, and it was proposed that the surviving Crabs should have their flail equipment removed and be converted back to regular Shermans[2] - an idea that was bitterly resented by the Crab crews, who considered themselves to be a highly trained elite.

Mine flail vehicles that can cope with anti-tank mines tend to be larger, heavier, more cumbersome and more expensive to operate.[10] Several designs, such as the Danish Hydrema 910, are based on a truck chassis with an armoured cab and a flail mounted behind on what would otherwise be the cargo space.

The German Army is equipped with the Keiler Minenräumpanzer Keiler (mine clearing tank 'wild boar'), based on a M48 Patton main battle tank.[11] The first of 24 Keilers was supplied to the German Army by Rheinmetall in 1997.[11] However, tanks have the disadvantage of having the driver at the front, close to the flail and any explosions, and they can not go slow enough for effective mine clearance.[12] Also, the weight of tanks makes them difficult to transport (by contrast, the 18-ton Hydrema 910 is light enough to be moved by air in a C-130 Hercules.) The tanks used have generally been obsolete models that have been highly modified - some work under remote control, others have had the driver's station moved to the rear.

But the flail was destroyed and the bulldozer crippled by an Iraqi anti-tank mine.[13] Mine flails have the advantage of being able to clear most mines from an area comparatively rapidly - the manufacturer of the British Aardvark Mark 4 quotes a maximum rate of 3,000 square metres (0.74 acres) per hour, however 600 square metres (0.15 acres) per hour is more usual.

Also, flails don't place their operators at significant risk, unlike manual demining.[14] However they have come under criticism.[15] They represent a large cost for non government, humanitarian organisations (an Aardvark Mine flail costs around $500,000 US.) They consume a lot of fuel, as a powerful engine is needed to drive the rotor if the flails are to strike the ground with enough force to be effective.

This means that, if the presence of anti-tank mines is suspected, the mine-field must, paradoxically, be manually checked first to make it safe for the mine flail.[17] These problems have led many humanitarian demining organisations to abandon the use of flails.[10] The clearance rate of mine flails can approach 100%, although rates as low as 50%-60% have been reported.

This is a particular problem in Lebanon, so the United Nations mine clearing operations in the south of that country have barred the use of flails.[18] Assessing flail effectiveness is difficult, as it is hard to distinguish between a mine that has been missed by the flail and an aged, malfunctioning mine that has been struck but has failed to detonate.

Because of this, all apparently intact mines are reported as being 'missed' by the flail and it has been suggested that this leads to an under-reporting of the mine flail's clearance reliability.[16] Experience in Afghanistan [17] suggests that, despite the disadvantages, mine flailing can, in certain circumstances, be a valuable step in a multi-stage demining process.

Robotics researchers have worked hard to realize a long-awaited vision: machines that can eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous environments.

Chapter 60 is framed by the vision of disaster response: search and rescue robots carrying people from burning buildings or tunneling through collapsed rock falls to reach trapped miners.

Even with the typical tenfold disadvantage in manipulation performance imposed by the limits of today’s telepresence and teleoperation technology, in terms of human dexterity and speed, robots often can offer a more cost-effective solution.