Fuji Heavy Industries plans to use a robot to help clear mines in Croatia. The company, best known as the maker of Subaru cars, will begin testing the robot in Croatia at the end of January 2006, the Daily Yomiuri reported this week.
The semi-autonomous 1.5 ton robot uses a metal detector and soil-penetrating radar to detect the presence and shape of metal objects below ground.
Fuji Heavy claims that it can identify mines up to one metre below the surface with better than 90 per cent accuracy. The firm is seeking approval from the Croatian government and international organisations to deploy the robot more widely.
Tens of thousands of mines were spread indiscriminately in Croatia and neighbouring nations during the conflict surrounding the break up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
"The presence of landmines still cripples Croatia's recovery. Thirteen of 21 counties, measuring 1,700 square kilometres, are affected by landmines. The threat restricts mobility and impedes development," said the internationally-funded Adopt-A-Minefield programme in a report last year.
Landmines.org said that it costs $30,000 to clear a typical 15,000 square metre minefield in Croatia using today's technology.
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