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Egypt has been listed as the country most contaminated by landmines in the world with an estimate of approximately 22.7 million landmines. This fact reflects the level of seriousness of landmines in Egypt. The contaminated areas in the North Coast, Gulf of Suez and Red Sea coasts are now being reclaimed for economic development making mine clearance an urgent priority for the Egyptian government. In order to foster robotics research and its applications in the area of humanitarian demining in Egypt, the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society – Egypt Chapter organized Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free Egypt as an outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining. It aimed at raising the public awareness of the role of science and technology in solving this problem and motivates professors, engineers and students working in this pertinent area of national importance. In this competition, each participating team constructed a teleoperated/autonomous unmanned ground/aerial vehicle that should be able to search for underground anti-personnel mines and aboveground unexploded ordnances. The position and the type of each detected object were visualized and overlaid on the minefield map. The robot had to be able to navigate through rough terrain that mimics a real minefield. This paper describes this competition, discusses the motivation behind it and summarizes the lessons learnt from this initiative.

 

In Minesweepers each participating team will construct a teleoperated or an autonomous robot that should be able to search for underground and aboveground anti-personnel mines and produce a map of the detected mines. The robot has to able to navigate through rough terrain that mimics a real minefield.

Registration due date (31 March 2012) is already passed. 95 Teams have been registered to participate in this competition.

93 Teams from different Egyptian and non-Egyptian universities, institutes and research centers have been registered to participate in Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-Free Egypt. A list of participating teams is available here.

 

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