An investigation into a novel landmine disabling manipulator

  • Josef Grindley

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


    In the field of land mine clearance there are two clear distinctions: civilian and military demining. The objectives, techniques and budgets vary substantially between them (McGrath, 2000). The substantially larger budget available for military mine clearance steers much research and development in this field. In contrast, civilian mine clearance generally sees little research and development specific to its organisational needs.

    The objectives of military organisations are to clear safe routes through an area in the shortest time possible with the least casualties, this accepts however that some of the mines may remain active and result in casualties during the process (McGrath, 2000). Civilian demining however tends to have significantly different objectives; these are to completely clear an area of landmines and return the land to functional use.

    Anti-personnel mines are designed to be inherently stable over time. However due to exposure to environmental conditions they can degrade. The result of such weathering varies between landmines, with some becoming inactive but others can become more unstable. This problem is exacerbated in civilian mine clearance, as this is generally done primarily by hand and not through mechanised means, placing the deminer at an elevated risk.

    It’s been claimed by Colin King that technological and mechanical solutions have been most use in the least number of situations. This implies that in order to make an impact in the area the problem must be thoroughly investigated. From the onset the project took a broad scope and started by investigating the operational needs of civilian mine clearance organisations. A large number of different land mine designs exist and so to keep the scope of the project achievable a set of three anti-personnel mines were chosen to be analysed. They were the most common, most likely to become unstable with time and most likely to remain active for the longest time. Contemporary strategies and technology used to remove them were analysed, this focused on the failings of mechanical clearance methods. The investigation then moved on to describe a robotic solution with a set of specific tools to be used to aid the removal process.

    A mechanical manipulator design is presented as well as a set of proposed tools to tackle suspected devices. A selection of sensors used to produce odometry data where explored and some solutions demonstrated. Control of the manipulator was also explored as well as means of actuating the device. The projects overall contribution to the area of mine clearance is a presentation of a proposed technique in and a proposal to develop a robotic manipulator with a set of tools for the task. Due to the expansive nature of the field of study and time constraints a demonstration of concept model was not produced. However a set of recommendations for further work may with adequate time and resources, enable the concept to be fully realised.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAndrew Jason Tickle (Supervisor)

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