European companies are building an automatic system for removing sea mines

Marine mines used in the past armed conflicts still pose a serious threat to ships navigating certain routes and have damaged many ships in recent years. France and the United Kingdom, together with the defense industry manufacturers Thales and BAE, are working on a fully automatic mine-clearance system.

The new project is called Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) and should be ready for initial testing in about two years. This is not a single unit intended for demining, but rather a small fleet consisting of several different units of strictly defined tasks.

The central component of the system is the unmanned Synthetic Aperture Sonar, which locates the mine under water. When they are found, they then release autonomous underwater drones that neutralize the threat by detonating the mine.

Although robots are supposed to communicate with people through high bandwidth connections, however, designers would like to equip them with maximum autonomy so they can handle their tasks independently without human supervision.

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