War notes
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War notes

Farmers demine their land

One of the key stages of humanitarian demining programs is the mapping of minefields. To solve this problem, an effective solution on the Kray Protection UAV platform is proposed.

“Tractor Troops” had hauled an enemy self-propelled howitzer to Ukrainian soldiers

The consequence of the large-scale direct invasion of the RF into the territory of Ukraine today is the occupation of about 20% of its territory. And this does not take into account those regions of the country from which the occupiers had to retreat — Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy regions. We believe in the victory of Ukraine, and although no one can say exactly when this victorious day will come, we are already thinking (because we have to) of returning to peaceful postwar life.

One of the most urgent priorities Ukraine will face to in the post-war reconstruction will be the demining of all previously occupied territories. This kind of large-scale task will take many years, maybe decades.

To meet these challenges, international programs, methods and tools for humanitarian demining (HD) will be developed and launched to reduce civilian casualties, create conditions for the safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons, and restore access to land and infrastructure, which is currently impossible due to landmines and unexploded ammunition.

Content

· The proposed solution
· Basic technical characteristics
· Status and prospects of development
· References
· Ukrainian version

The proposed solution

One of the key stages of HD programs is the mapping of minefields. To solve this problem, an effective solution on the Kray Protection UAV platform (Kray Technologies Ukraine LLC) is proposed. The key technical features of this platform, aimed at this type of task are:

  • ability of autonomous flight at ultra-low altitude (1 m) following the terrain;
  • built-in computer vision allows reproducing 3D reconstruction of the environment in real time and thus identifying and bypassing ground obstacles at high operating speeds (25 m/s);
  • high positioning accuracy in all speed modes (trajectory maintenance <15 cm) is provided by the use of real-time positioning (RTK);
  • payload of 15 kg allows hanging heavy precision equipment for detecting metal ground objects;
  • automatic planning of safe trajectories based on the environment for accurate mission execution.

From the very beginning, the platform was conceived for agricultural applications, namely: precise spraying at ultra-low altitudes. This initial focus on purely civilian applications allows the platform to be used by non-military personnel, ie owners or service companies, to perform HD tasks as well. In practice, this is done by simply replacing the payload on equipment for detecting metal objects.

Another advantage of the Kray Protection platform for farmers is its multi-purpose use. Namely, if necessary, it can be converted with minimal effort from agricultural use (field spraying) to solving the HD problems (and vice versa) just by replacing the payload (instrument) of the drone.

The result of the HD flight task is a map of magnetic anomalies, contours of surveyed areas, contours of unexplored areas (in particular, around obstacles, etc.). The platform provides high productivity — for 10 hours of working time surveys 400–500 hectares of land. The magnetic field sensors used and the Kray Protection platform’s precise orientation system will provide a magnetic field anomaly detection threshold of better than 5 nT. This is equivalent to detecting an anti-personnel mine or F-1 hand grenade from a height of 1 m.

After the detection of magnetic anomalies, the map with their exact coordinates, the contours of the surveyed and unexplored areas can be transferred to a sapper service, which actually ensures the disposal of ammunition and their remains.

Basic technical characteristics

Status and prospects of development

The Kray Protection platform has been under development since 2014 and today the fourth generation of development is ready for the deployment of serial production. Kray is currently developing a payload for precision magnetometry to be used for humanitarian demining tasks.

References

Ukrainian version

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Olegh Bondarenko

Olegh Bondarenko

Researcher, DSc, expert in Radiation Protection, Ecology, Air Quality Monitoring, Project Management, Data Science and other — orcid.org/0000-0001-8214-4654