Ground Penetrating Radar to be Deployed from UAS
Cobham recently took the opportunity of discussing demining operations with Penny Mordaunt, Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development, to raise the profile of several innovations in robotic or automated mine clearance.
Cobham has been working with the HALO Trust in Cambodia since 2012, helping the charity to reduce human risk in demining operations and move towards realisation of its ‘Land Mine Free 2025’ vision. Much of the discussion surrounding the Trust’s activities has centred on the automation of mine clearance and methods of digitally mapping operations in order to reduce risk to human operators and operate in locations humans cannot reach.
Over 10,000 MINEHOUND systems, designed and manufactured in partnership with German manufacturer Vallon, have been sold to military and humanitarian customers, and the system has been used by HALO in Cambodia since 2012. MINEHOUND allows HALO to reduce the amount of metal clutter that would otherwise need to be removed by hand and reduces false alarm rates by better than 95%, ensuring a quicker, more efficient minefield clearance operation. Innovating for the future, MINEHOUND LITE has been designed and developed to provide ground penetrating radar (GPR) at a commercial build standard, meaning a physically lighter detector with a more cost-effective proposition for humanitarian deminers.
AMULET allows for remote mine detection, when the risk of deploying individuals is too high. For example, it can be used at night or in inclement weather conditions. The system maps and reports the minefield in real-time. AMULET UAS deploys the same GPR on a small UAS. In the future this will allow the remote deployment of GPR, providing operators with the ability to search a minefield that would otherwise be too high risk or inaccessible for a human deminer. It provides secondary support in conditions which would prevent a tracked robot from operating. This airborne automation will reduce the reliance on human operators, minimising risks and offering increased clearance rates in conditions which humans or ground robots are unable to support.