Unexplored remnants of war such as landmines continue to pose unprecedented levels of danger around the world. According to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, as of October 2015, 57 States and 4 other territories had been affected by anti-personnel landmines. These numbers include 33 states parties to the Ottawa Treaty and 24 states not party to the treaty, while 5 additional states parties are suspected of being contaminated with landmines and/or endure residual contamination. Around the globe it is estimated that there are more than 110 million active landmines scattered in these 62 countries.
According to a recent article, landmines kill more than 5,000 people each year. Of that number, 46 per cent are children, and in total landmines injure between 15,000-20,000 people annually. Fields, forests, water wells, hydroelectric installations, and more essential locations and facilities in many countries are scattered with landmines that severely endanger regional populations.
Recently, robotics have become increasingly important in the fight against landmines. In order to foster robotics research and its application to the fight against landmines, Minesweepers: Towards a Landmine-free World was created as the first outdoor robotic competition on humanitarian demining. The competition aims to raise public awareness about the dangers posed by landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) contamination, while fostering new and important robotics research and its application to demining efforts around the world.
The fifth edition of Minesweepers competition will be hosted by Zewail City of Science and Technology in conjunction with Second International Workshop on Recent Advances in Robotics and Sensor Technology for Humanitarian Demining and Counter-IEDs (RST). The competition will take place in Cairo, Egypt on October 27-30, 2016.
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