Landmine Detection at F&M

Hackman Room 212

Introduction and Motivation

The detection and removal of landmines and other unexploded ordnance in current and former conflict zones is a major humanitarian task that can be leveraged by the use of technology to address the complexities and difficulties in correctly identifying mines. Typically more than 99% of a deminer's time is spent identifying and removing inert underground clutter. Sophisticated identification and imaging of underground objects (whether they be landmines or junk; either plastic or metal) can reduce this wasted time and mitigate the physical danger to the deminer. This demining technology comes in multiple forms and needs to work together in a single system to be maximally effective. This technology includes imaging (with LIDAR-enabled cameras for landscapes, and holographic radars for underground objects), ground-penetrating radar for object detection, robotics and field mobility assessments, real-time communication between different parts of the overall system, user databases that are populated in real-time with field data and which are accessible worldwide, wireless data transfer and communication between robots, sensors, users, and databases, and interfaces between users and the instrumentation.

With rapid advances of commercial technology, the costs are reduced while reliability and capability are increased (these are important considerations since cost, ease of use, and reliability are important for the end users of the technology in typically poor and/or underdeveloped conflict zones). Real-world conditions also dictate that the technology be field-ready and simple to use in order to be practical as a tool. These developments and the requirements of the overall problem point to an integrated technology approach, dubbed Industry 4.0 in engineering and industry parlance, which represents a fourth technology revolution. In this paradigm, cyber and physical systems communicate, merge, and integrate into a single, connected, decentralized system that is simple, cheap, and reliable. The name we give to this integrated cyber-physical approach to the landmine problem is Landmine Detection 4.0.

Our Work

Our research group at F&M is working in tandem with colleagues from Italy and the Ukraine as a NATO-funded team to enhance existing and proven technology and the techniques that have been developed to address demining in the Ukraine conflict zone of Donbass. The existing work of this team has been successful in testing imaging techniques with holographic radars and with terrain analysis in the Ukraine conflict zone. The integration of these aspects of the system and others are beginning to get underway.

We plan to take the next steps in this project and begin development, testing, and integration of an effective and widely-used demining system. Our work at F&M will initially focus on several aspects of the system development. These include:

Project Participants at F&M

  • Tim Bechtel (Faculty, Department of Earth and Environment)
  • Fronefield Crawford (Faculty, Department of Physics and Astronomy)
  • Gaby Sallai (F&M '19)
  • Stasia Kuske (F&M '19)
  • Jack Sinton (F&M '20)

    Publications and Presentations

    The Advanced Research Workshop on Explosives Detection in the Context of the Three Pillars of NATO SPS
    F. Crawford & T. Bechtel, Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Explosives Detection (2019)

    Machine Vision for Obstacle Avoidance, Tripwire Detection, and Holographic Image Correction
    L. Capineri, T. Bechtel, G. Pochanin, A. Bulletti, P. Falorni, L. Bossi, M. Dimitri, A. Bartolini, F. Crawford, G. Sallai, J. Sinton, A. Kuske, L. Varyanitza-Roschupkina, V. Ruban, O. Pochanin, & T. Ogurtsova, Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Explosives Detection, Florence, Italy (2019)

    Impulse Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)
    L. Capineri, T. Bechtel, G. Pochanin, A. Bulletti, P. Falorni, L. Bossi, G. Borgioli, F. Crawford, L. Varyanitza-Roschupkina, V. Ruban, O. Pochanin, & T. Ogurtsova, Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Explosives Detection, Florence, Italy (2019)

    Characterization of Electromagnetic Properties of In Situ Soils for the Design of Landmine Detection Sensors: Application in Donbass, Ukraine
    T. Bechtel, S. Truskavetsky, G. Pochanin, L. Capineri, A. Sherstyuk, K. Viatkin, T. Byndych, V. Ruban, L. Varyanitza-Roschupkina, O. Orlenko, P. Kholod, P. Falorni, A. Bulletti, L. Bossi, & F. Crawford, Remote Sensing, 11, 1232 (2019)

    Measurement of Coordinates for a Cylindrical Target Using Times of Flight from a 1-Transmitter and 4-Receiver UWB Antenna System
    G. Pochanin, L. Capineri, T. Bechtel, P. Falorni, G. Borgioli, V. Ruban, O. Orlenko, T. Ogurtsova, O. Pochanin, F. Crawford, & P. Kholod, Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, submitted

    Background Removal for the Processing of Scans Acquired with the UGO 1st Landmine Detection Platform
    L. Capineri, P. Falorni, G. Borgioli, L. Bossi, G. Pochanin, V. Ruban, O. Pochanin, T. Ogurtsova, F. Crawford, & T. D. Bechtel, Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Rome, Italy (2019)

    Machine Vision for Obstacle Avoidance, Tripwire Detection, and Subsurface Radar Image Correction on a Robotic Vehicle for the Detection and Discrimination of Landmines
    A. Bartolini, L. Bossi, L. Capineri, P. Falorni, A. Bulletti, M. Dimitri, G. Pochanin, V. Ruban, T. Ogurtsova, F. Crawford, T. Bechtel, G. Sallai, A. Kuske, J. Sinton, S. Truskavetsky, & T. Byndych, Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Rome, Italy (2019)

    Application of the Industry 4.0 Paradigm to the Design of a UWB Radiolocation System for Humanitarian Demining
    G. Pochanin, V. Ruban, T. Ogurtsova, O. Orlenko, I. Pochanina, P. Kholod, L. Capineri, P. Falorni, A. Bulletti, M. Dimitri, L. Bossi, T. Bechtel, & F. Crawford, 9th International Conference on Ultrawideband and Ultrashort Impulse Signals, Odessa, Ukraine (2018)

    Criteria for Selecting Object Coordinates at Probing by the Impulse UWB GPR with the 1Tx + 4Rx Antenna System
    T. N. Ogurtsova, V. P. Ruban, A. E. Poyedynchuk, O. G. Pochanin, G. P. Pochanin, L. Capineri, P. Falorni, T. Bechtel, & F. Crawford, 9th International Conference on Ultrawideband and Ultrashort Impulse Signals, Odessa, Ukraine (2018)

    News Articles and Press

  • New NATO Scientific Projects to Help with the Fight Against Terrorism, NATO Headquarters News, November 12, 2018
  • Building a Robot with Lasers, Time-of-Flight Cameras and Coding, F&M News, July 16, 2018
  • Ready to Launch: F&M Helps Develop Land Mine-Detection Robot, F&M News, May 2, 2018

    This work has been funded in part by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme under Project G5014, titled "Holographic and Impulse Subsurface Radar for Landmine and IED Detection"