[Registration fees 100 USD]

Competition Rules [Metallic Surface/Buried Object Detection + Minefield Mapping]

Minesweepers is an international competition for humanitarian demining. Each participating team (Max. 10 members) will construct a teleoperated or an autonomous robot that should be able to search for underground and aboveground anti-personnel mines and produce automatically a map of the detected mines. The robot has to able to navigate through rough environment that mimics a real minefield.

 1. Minefield

The competition environment will be an open wood area with a size of 20 x 20 m, delimited by 4 GPS coordinates. The competition area will be marked by plastic tape for visualization purposes, there will also be a virtual fence to stop the robots from going outside the competition area. There will be no mines in a stripe of 0.5 m of terrain along the borders of the competition area. Most of the arena will be covered by low grass with a few trees, some steep inclines, ditches and culverts. Some photos of the minefield are shown below. 

 2. The Mines

Two different kinds of artificial mines are used in this competition:

Buried Mines: These mines are made from metallic cubes, with approximate dimensions of 10x10x10 (LxWxD). These mines are completely buried underground with maximum depth 10 cm. These buried metallic cubes mimic real anti-personnel (AP) blast mines. Real AP blast mines are deliberately designed to be small (typically 6-14 cm in diameter): this makes them cheaper and easier to store, carry and deploy. AP blast mines rely on the effect of explosive blast to damage the victim, and are designed to detonate when the victim steps on them. These mines are often buried in order to camouflage their presence.

Surface Mines: These mines are made from metallic cubes, with approximate dimensions of 10x10x10 (LxWxD) and labeled in black color.  These mines are visible and are located on the surface of the competition area. Any contact with them will be penalized. These black metallic cubes are used to simulate aboveground mines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs). Unexploded Ordnance is a piece of explosive ordnance or ammunition that has failed to function as intended. Although they have failed to function as intended, UXO can sometimes require only the slightest disturbance to detonate. UXOs vary greatly in size from hand grenades the size of an apple to large aircraft bombs.

Some landmines will be organized in a pattern for easier removal and accountability and others will be scattered randomly. Locations of each landmine will be known for the jury committee.

3.  The Robots

Each team must use a teleoperated or an autonomous robot per game. The robot has to be made by team members. Teleoperated robot must be operated remotely from a base station located outside the minefield. Wireless controller based on ZigBee for example would be recommended to communicate the base station with the robot due to the large size of the field. In case of autonomous robots, all the actions of the robot must be completely autonomous without human intervention. Autonomous robot will be rewarded a 40% bonus over teleoperated robots. Careful attention must be paid to the robot locomotion systems as the roughness of the terrain is very high. Both unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are allowed as illustrated in the figure below.


Unmanned ground vehicles can be wheeled, legged or hybrid. Wheeled robots include but are not limited to differential drive, tricycle drive, Ackerman steering, synchro drive, omnidirectional drive, Multi-Degree-of-Freedom (MDOF) vehicles, MDOF vehicle with compliant linkage or tracked vehicles. Legged robot can be uniped, biped, tripod, pentapod, quadruped or hexapod robot. Any types of hybrid locomotion can also be used. Examples of hybrid locomotion include a vehicle equipped with tracks for fast locomotion, and legs for more difficult terrain or flippers with self-cleaning tracks or legged vehicles with driving wheels attached to the end of each leg. UAV can be an alternative for the locomotion systems. As shown in above figure, UAVs can be classified into fixed wing, conventional helicopters and multi-rotor helicopters. Fix wind UAVs are naturally stable platforms capable of long flight times and extreme range. However, they are difficult to coordinate with slower ground systems. Conventional helicopters are common collective pitch model helicopters known for their excellent maneuverability and scalability. However they suffer from high level of complexity. Quad-rotors have the ability to hover and there are naturally stable and durable. However, they have limited pay-load. Ball-bots or UAVs that can land on a roving platform are also allowed.

Robot can also be an unmanned aerial vehicle or a quad-rotor. Robot can be actuated using electric, pneumatic or hydraulic actuation system, Diesel/Petrol engine or using solar energy.

4.  Sensors

Each team can select their own set of sensors for localization of mines. Although teams can install cameras on robot or install them on the sides of the field, no camera or sensors is allowed to hangover the competition area.

5.  Mine Detection

When a robot detects a mine, it has to autonomously report this event using a light blinking signal and a warning siren for at least 2 seconds. Teams have to correctly position the alarm device on their robot.

6.  Mine Map

Each deminer robot has to provide map of the detected mines when its competition time slot finishes. The map represents a 19x19 meter area divided to 100x100 cm squares based on the common reference frame of the arena. The X coordinate of the map is shown by letters A to S and the Y coordinate of the map consists of numbers 1 to 19. So a position (x,y) where the mine is detected has to be reported for example by B2. This map can be simply a text file or text shown on the display of the robot. The sequence of the positions has to be the same as the detected mines. This mine map can be represented graphically or using vector format as shown in Fig. 1 and 2 respectively.


Fig. 1 Graphical Representation of the Mine Map [Black: buried mine, Gray: Surface Mine]


Fig. 2 Vector Representation of the Mine Map

The scoring points will be calculated from the map. If the map is not created automatically by the robot without operator intervention and submitted to the jury committee, the judge won't be able to complete the scoring sheet. There will be two judges: one in the arena and one outside. The judge in the field will take care of observing the touching with the surface mines and control the time and the resets. But the judge outside the arena will calculate the points based on the provided map taking into consideration the observations of the in-field judge in terms of number of touches and time. If no map is provided (in raw or graphic format as shown below), no points will be obtained.

7.  Procedure

Each robot starts the game from one of the corners of the competition arena such as A1 (Fig. 1). Team members will bring the teleoperated or the autonomous robot to this location. Then robot has to search the field to find buried mines or the mines scattered on surface. When the robot detects any kinds of mine it should register the location of the mine in the map and produce a light signal and siren and also report the mine location to update the mine map. All the detected mines will be removed from the field before a new team enters the arena.

Robot has to able to navigate through rough environment of the minefield and avoid obstacles. Robots must avoid surface mines else the team will be penalized.

During competitions only one of team members can attend the field. He/she can request a “Reset Time” which means he/she can stop the game and take out robot for repair or adjustment. The time spends for this repair will be included within the competition time and there would be a penalty for each resent time. The competitiontime allowed for each team is 20 minutes including the reset time. Jury committee will calculate the team's score and prepare the field for the next team during another 10 minutes.

  •  The competition will end with one of the following conditions:
  • The dedicated time finishes,
  • Team dismiss the game,
  • Any cheating happens,
  • Robot touches a surface mine.

8.  Scoring

General rules for scoring are as following. But the exact scores will be decided during the competition.

  • 10 Positive score for detecting every buried metallic mine,
  • 5 Positive score for detecting every surface metallic mine,
  • 30 Positive score for complete surf of field if 80% of mines are detected correctly,
  • 5 Negative score for wrong detection,
  • 10 Negative score for passing over a buried mine without detecting it.
  • 5 Negative score for touching a surface mine. Game terminates.
  • 3 Negative score failure in producing a light signal and/or a siren for a detected mine.
  • 2 Negative score for every minute reset time.
  • Autonomous robot’s total score will be multiplied by 1.4.
  • For Mapping:

o  5 Positive score for mine map true positive for surface mines.

o  10 Positive score for mine map true positive for buried mines.

o  5 Negative score for mine map false negative for surface or buried mines.

o  5 Negative score for mine map false positive for surface or buried mines.

 Table 1 shows a sample for scoring sheet.

 Table 1 Scoring Sheet