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University of Coimbra focuses on landmine clearance

23rd January 2014 - 16:14 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The University of Coimbra’s Institute of Systems and Robotics is working on developing an unmanned solution for humanitarian demining efforts based on the Clearpath Robotics Husky UGV. Field tests of the system began in 2013 and will continue during 2014.

The team is working to develop a system that is capable of perceiving terrain characteristics, navigating across the terrain, and detecting and localising landmines.

Lino Marques, Senior Lecturer at the University of Coimbra, and academic liaison for the project, said: ‘Minesweeping is an extremely dangerous and time-intensive process. Robots do not get tired; they can be extremely thorough performing their jobs, and their cost is infinitely smaller than that of a human life. For these reasons, robots are a perfect solution for the minesweeping problem.’

The Husky UGV, supplied by Clearpath Robotics as part of the 2012 Partnerbot Grant Program, has been outfitted with navigation and localisation sensors, ground penetration radar, and a custom robotic arm with an attached metal detector. The entirety of the robot is designed with open source software using the Robot Operating System (ROS). 

Matt Rendall, CEO, Clearpath Robotics, said: ‘We are very proud to be supporters of Dr. Marques’ humanitarian research into demining robotics. Clearpath Robotics was originally founded with a focus to clear landmines using a swarm of small mobile robots – that’s how we got our name – so it’s very exciting for us to work with the University of Coimbra to advance this incredibly noble research.’

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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