Quantum has a long history of delivering image processing projects thanks to our established expertise in artificial intelligence. Our experience with drones and analyzing images is what allowed us to become a part of the project aimed at detecting land mines, organized by the British Army.
The project is unique for Quantum in a number of ways. First, it’s hard to overestimate the project’s social importance. The number of explosive objects left in the ground after two World Wars is staggering. This leads to people getting killed or injured even 75 years after the war ended. Additionally, large areas of land cannot be used for agricultural and other purposes because they can still hold mines.
“We need to pay off our debts and clean up the mess people have been creating over the past century,” says Ruben Melkonian, the CEO of Quantum.
Surprisingly enough, the project will become another one of Quantum’s environmental initiatives. We are putting a lot of effort into applying AI to solve environmental problems like forest conservation control. Clearing out explosive objects from land also contributes to improving the environment.
On top of that, the project is complicated technically. Mines are designed to be difficult to detect. Fortunately, over the past decades, rains have washed the places where they were planted. Plus, under specific circumstances and with the help of modern technologies, detecting them becomes easier.
According to Mikhail Yushchuk, Head of Data Science at Quantum, the task is also unusual in terms of data. “We can’t collect a dataset in the fields and run the usual cycle of data collection, markup, and model training. Not enough visibility, mine color changes due to the prolonged lying in the ground, and changes in the types of surfaces where the mines were planted will also be a problem.”
Mr. Melkonian adds, “We aren’t the first company to undertake this task; the attempts of our many predecessors were unsuccessful. But Quantum loves difficult tasks. For us, this project is a challenge and a test of our qualifications.”
Finally, the project is valuable. The clearance process is expensive and associated with increased danger. And while it’s impossible to find all mines, increasing the efficiency of the process even by 20% will save tens of thousands of pounds as well as the health and lives of deminers.
The Quantum team will start by studying the structure of mines, shooting conditions, and the characteristics of the surfaces that may contain mines.