When robotics
helps to locate
explosive threats

UXO XYZ Robotics is an industry-led initiative dedicated to providing demining professionals with autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs) able to detect, classify and localize explosive remnants of war (ERW).

The project has three main objectives :

  • Improve safety
    Keep land release personnel outside hazardous areas during the technical surveys.
  • Reduce workload:
    Provide autonomous robots able to reduce the workload of the field operators and improve productivity.
  • Make technology as transparent and easy-to-use as possible:
    Develop a seamless end to end data acquisition and processing solution to facilitate the training of field operators.
Photograph: Alessio Mamo/The Guardian

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Ukraine is currently the most mined territory in the world.

"Given the scale of pollution, demining will last 70 years with the resources currently available in Ukraine. Therefore, in order to solve this problem in the shortest possible time, strong support from international partners is needed – financial, technological, and organizational.”

Today, we are talking about 180,000 square kilometers of potentially contaminated territory of Ukraine.

The UXO XYZ Robotics initiative brings together an international group of experts from the industrial world and the scientific community.

This project will use proven technologies to allow a high degree of certainty when contucting UXO geophysical surveys and will aim at bridging the gap between the current labour intensive process and a completely autonomous solution.

The fundamental driver of the project is the fact that the partners have the capacity overcome two major technological bottlenecks:

  • the availability of a rugged, reliable and cost-effective robotic vehicle
  • the real time processing of remote sensing data

On the subjet of the vehicle, in our research on this particular subject, we have found this very interesting diplomatic note from the Bureau of the Political-Military Affairs in the US:

Saving Lives and Taxpayer Dollars by Adapting
Off-the-Shelf Technology for Humanitarian Demining

This reinforces our idea that turning conventional construction equipment into demining robots is a relevant proposal. This pragmatic approach is cost-effective and also significantly shorten time to market.

On the subjet of real-time processing of remote sensing data, needs have changed. In satellite remote sensing or airborne remote sensing, the ability to analyze data in real-time as not been a priority. For years, collecting and analyzing data have remained two consecutive phases of work.

Right now, we stand at the beginning of the autonomous mobile robot age. Real-time georeferencing, processing, and interpretation of remote sensing data will enable these autonomous mobile robots to understand and move through an unknown and hazardous environment. The industry is ready to take on this challenge!