Clearpath Robotics provides base for minesweeper robot

Canadian robot maker Clearpath Robotics recently provided The University of Coimbra’s Institute of Systems and Robotics with a mobile robotic base as part of a grant program, and the Portuguese researchers put it to good use, converting the platform into a minesweeping robot.

“Minesweeping is an extremely dangerous and time-intensive process,” Lino Marques, academic liaison for the project, said in a statement. “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 University of Coimbra robot has been outfitted with navigation and localization sensors, ground penetration radar and a custom robotic arm with an attached metal detector. The groups says its first round of field tests in 2013 was interrupted due to issues with their custom robotic arm. A second round of field tests is expected in the middle of this year.

Coincidentally, Clearpath itself got its start working to clear landmines.

“We are very proud to be supporters of Dr. Marques’ humanitarian research into demining robotics.” Matt Rendall, CEO at Clearpath Robotics, said in a statement. “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 University of Coimbra group received a Husky Unmanned Ground Vehicle as part of the 2012 Partnerbot Grant Program, which was designed to support robotics innovation.

[ photo courtesy of Clearpath Robotics ]