Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Mine Clearing Beast Autonomous Vehicle

Wireless controlled autonomous vehicles of all kinds are being developed by the military. An interesting type being developed are IED and mine clearing vehicles. They can safely clear areas for the military and civilians caught in war tore areas.

The Digger D-3 is a mine-clearing robot with a unique approach. Instead of poking around to locate mines and explosives, it shreds that area and eats them. It is a land tiller on steroids (and lots of them). At the front of the D-3 is a giant spinning metal pulverizer, which has tungsten hammers that beat down a quarter meter into the ground, turning everything into mulch. The mines do blow up but don't seem to damage the Digger at all. It is designed to width stand antitank mines and unexploded shells of sizes up to 81 mm and has been able to successfully ingest mines containing as much as 8 kilograms of explosive.

Here is the Digger D-2 in action:

An operator commands this beast from a safe distance using a remote control unit. The hull of the robot is made up of hardened steel plates in a "V" shape to help limit any damage from explosions. The only potentially vulnerable spots are the air intakes, which are protected from flying shrapnel by special grates. At full throttle, the D-3 can reliably clear a comforting 100 percent of landmines from the ground at a rate of 1,000 square meters per hour (about 10,000 square feet per hour), while also divesting the land of any unwanted shrubbery (I guess you can plant the field it leaves behind). I can't wait to try one in my back yard so I can plant new grass!

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