Robots have been used for years to find and destroy land mines and to locate explosives.
Countries like Cambodia have been known to have the most landmines anywhere in the world so companies like Clear Path Robotics and Demine have created robots like their Husky UGV that can be configured to dig up and relocate land mines.
Before the technology advanced for land mine robots and the prices dropped, the process of finding and exploding land mines was largely left to people and animals.
Ideally a heavy tank like machine with a reinforced bottom could be used to drive all over the area to detonate all land mines or a plane could fly over and area dropping hundreds of heavy weights all over the field to explode any remaining mines.
But in the most impoverished nations, people would be selected to go into an area and either throw things ahead to set off bombs or perhaps use metal detectors to find possible mines and then go detonate them and hopefully not get killed or maimed.
Often several hand grenades would be thrown on the suspected land to set off any nearby land mines.
Animals like dogs or cattle were often sent into a mine field wearing additional weight to detonate any land mines.
These techniques were of course highly dangerous and came with a high casualty rate.
So anything that could replace these techniques was greatly accepted.
Simple land roving machines as simple as self propelled lawn mowers without sensors could be sent off into an area to explode mines one by one.
Then with more affordable heavy duty remote control toy cars the same thing could be done and then eventually better robots with mine detection equipment could be used.
Of course with the advent of remote control airplanes and now heavier load carrying drones, multiple loads could be dropped over and area to set off any land mines.
Then we come to the last decade or so where specific land mine detection and detonation robot machines were created.
Some more modern landmines were created with few metalic components which could not be detected easily by metal detectors.
So various types of sensors could be placed on land mine robotic equipment.
Apparently a chemical smell called trinitrotoluene or TNT could be detected by a robotic sensor.
So we have these kinds of companies producing equipment
- MKD (mine kafon drone) has a drone which can fly over and area and map it with GPS and detect where the mines are and then it has the drone carefully drop tennis ball size devices over top of the mines which are later exploded
- Demine with Clearpath had the mine excavator designed in 2016 and improved on since
- URAN 6 Russian robot is basically a tank sized mine detonator which travels over and area sensing mines and activiting them
Of course with the popularity of affordable microcontrollers like the Arduino and full computers like the Raspberry pi, it is becoming conceivable that every small nation could create homebrew versions of their own mine detecting and detonating robots for mere hundreds of dollars.