We recently developed a new, man-portable, electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor designed to detect and classify small, unexploded sub-munitions and discriminate them from non-hazardous debris. The ability to distinguish innocuous metal clutter from potentially hazardous unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) before excavation can significantly accelerate land reclamation efforts by eliminating time spent removing harmless scrap metal. The EMI sensor employs a multi-axis transmitter and receiver configuration to produce data sufficient for anomaly discrimination. A real-time data inversion routine produces intrinsic and extrinsic anomaly features describing the polarizability, location, and orientation of the anomaly under test. We discuss data acquisition and post-processing software development, and results from laboratory and field tests demonstrating the discrimination capability of the system. Data acquisition and real-time processing emphasize ease-of-use, quality control (QC), and display of discrimination results. Integration of the QC and discrimination methods into the data acquisition software reduces the time required between sensor data collection and the final anomaly discrimination result. The system supports multiple concepts of operations (CONOPs) including: 1) a non-GPS cued configuration in which detected anomalies are discriminated and excavated immediately following the anomaly survey; 2) GPS integration to survey multiple anomalies to produce a prioritized dig list with global anomaly locations; and 3) a dynamic mapping configuration supporting detection followed by discrimination and excavation of targets of interest.
The implementation of new advanced electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor surveys at sites containing unexploded
ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) is an effective method for accurate mapping and for discriminating
clutter from targets of interest. We present development and integration of a next generation advanced EMI sensor onto a
cart-based sensing platform to combine the mapping capability of previous digital geophysical survey instruments with
the high-resolution discrimination capability of advanced characterization arrays. The EMI sensor employs a multi-axis
receiver configuration to produce data sufficient for anomaly discrimination. We discuss platform design and
development, data acquisition and post-processing software development, and results from field tests demonstrating the
detection and discrimination capability of the cart-based system. Platform development and design focused on navigation
and EMI sensor integration onto a custom, low-noise, metal-free platform. Data acquisition is via an Android application
with emphasis on ease-of-use and real-time quality control (QC) of collected data. Post-processing methods emphasize
QC, inversion-based anomaly location estimation, and automated or supervised polarizability-based discrimination
methods to produce a prioritized dig list. Integration of the detection, clutter rejection and QC methods into the post-processing
software module reduces the time required between sensor data collection and generation of a prioritized dig
list. System concept of operations (CONOPs), data collection, QC, data processing procedures, and performance against
various clutter objects and targets of interest will also be discussed.
The U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) Program, Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIITEK), Inc. and The HALO Trust have over the last decade funded, developed and tested various prototype vehicle mounted ground penetrating radar (GPR) systems named the Mine Stalker. The HD R&D Program and NIITEK developed the Mine Stalker to detect low metal anti-tank (LM-AT) mines in roads. The country of Angola is severely affected by LM-AT mines in and off road, some of which are buried beyond the effective range of detection sensors current used in country. The threat from LM-AT mines such as the South African Number 8 (No. 8) and the Chinese Type 72 (72AT) still persist from Angola’s 30 years of civil war. These LM-AT threats are undetectable at depths greater than 5 to 10 centimeters using metal detection technology. Clearing commerce routes are a critical requirement before Angola can rebuild its infrastructure and improve safety conditions for the local populace. The Halo Trust, a non-governmental demining organization (NGO) focused on demining and clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO), has partnered with the HD R&D Program to conduct an operational field evaluation (OFE) of the Mine Stalker III (MS3) in Angola. Preliminary testing and training efforts yielded encouraging results. This paper presents a review of the data collected, testing results, system limitations and deficiencies while operating in a real world environment. Our goal is to demonstrate and validate this technology in live minefield environments, and to collect data to prompt future developments to the system.
Deminers around the globe are still using handheld metal detectors that lack the capability to distinguish mines from clutter, detect mines containing very little metal, or find mines buried at deeper depths. In the southern African country of Angola, many areas and roads are impassable due to the threat of anti-tank landmines. Some of these mines are undetectable using current metal detector technology. The US Army has funded the development of the NIITEK ground penetrating radar (GPR) for detection of anti-tank (AT) landmines. This radar detects metal and plastic mines as well as mines that are buried too deep for handheld metal detectors to find. The US Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining (HD) Research & Development Program focuses on developing, testing, demonstrating, and validating new technology for immediate use in humanitarian demining operations around the globe. The HD team provided funding and guidance to NIITEK Incorporated for development of a prototype system called Mine Stalker - a relatively light-weight, remote-controlled vehicle outfitted with the NIITEK GPR, detection algorithms, and a marking system. Individuals from the HD team, NIITEK Inc, and the non-governmental organization Meschen Gegen Minen (MgM) participated in a field evaluation of the Mine Stalker in Angola. The primary aim was to evaluate the effectiveness and reliability of the NIITEK GPR under field conditions. The Mine Stalker was extremely reliable during the evaluation with no significant maintenance issues. All AT mines used to verify GPR performance were detected, even when buried to depths as deep as 25-33cm.