10 May 2006 Autonomous robot for detecting subsurface voids and tunnels using microgravity
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Abstract
Tunnels have been used to evade security of defensive positions both during times of war and peace for hundreds of years. Tunnels are presently being built under the Mexican Border by drug smugglers and possibly terrorists. Several have been discovered at the border crossing at Nogales near Tucson, Arizona, along with others at other border towns. During this war on terror, tunnels under the Mexican Border pose a significant threat for the security of the United States. It is also possible that terrorists will attempt to tunnel under strategic buildings and possibly discharge explosives. The Center for Cave and Karst Study (CCKS) at Western Kentucky University has a long and successful history of determining the location of caves and subsurface voids using microgravity technology. Currently, the CCKS is developing a remotely controlled robot which will be used to locate voids underground. The robot will be a remotely controlled vehicle that will use microgravity and GPS to accurately detect and measure voids below the surface. It is hoped that this robot will also be used in military applications to locate other types of voids underground such as tunnels and bunkers. It is anticipated that the robot will be able to function up to a mile from the operator. This paper will describe the construction of the robot and the use of microgravity technology to locate subsurface voids with the robot.
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Stacy S. Wilson, Nicholas C. Crawford, Leigh Ann Croft, Michael Howard, Stephen Miller, Thomas Rippy, "Autonomous robot for detecting subsurface voids and tunnels using microgravity", Proc. SPIE 6201, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense V, 620111 (10 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.665030; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.665030
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