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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:03 pm 
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Are robot swarms the future of destroying sea mines?
By: Kelsey D. Atherton   3 days ago
This important work is present done by humans, who often have to physically place detonation charges on the mines they find. Some day, autonomous robots could perform the same task with less risk of loss of life. (Alfred A. Coffield/Navy)
A sea mine is a promise of tragedy in the future. Built for the immediate demands of a naval conflict, deployed for some once-pressing strategic end, and now left in place for decades, sea mines are an enduring risk. Clearing the sea from the dangerous refuse of the past can be a high-stakes proposition. Why not, then, let robots do it?
In August 2018, a loose mine was spotted off the coast of Washington state, and then detonated without harm (or secondary explosion, indicating that it was an inert training mine). This detonation work is typically done by human divers, and while the mine spotted in Washington was luckily inert, there are plenty of sea lanes where live weapons of dead wars persist. In the Baltic, for example, NATO estimates there remain 80,000 sea mines, a number that’s been unchanged for nearly a decade.
(...SNIPPED)

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