Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CMAC, Apopo develop new Smart mine detecting tech

CMAC, Apopo develop new Smart mine detecting tech

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A mine-sniffing dog equipped with new technology developed by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre and Belgian non-profit Apopo. APOPO

CMAC, Apopo develop new Smart mine detecting tech

The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) and Belgian non-profit Apopo have collaborated in the research and development of new technologies to use drones and equip mine-sniffing dogs with cameras, speakers and remote communication systems known as Smart.

The technology makes it easier for Smart dogs to detect unexploded ordnance (UXO) and war-era mines in the Kingdom.

CMAC director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Monday that, with the new technologies, the Smart dogs sniff and detect explosives with experts controlling and inspecting the operation from a distance through an image screen.

Ratana said the research and development of the new technology has proved a success since the launch of the programme in Preah Vihear province in March.

“We have successfully tested the new technology on minefields in Preah Vihear province . . . The new technology makes it easy for CMAC demining officials to see dogs running to find mines and explosives from afar. It enables controllers to see the entire minefields and speed up landmine clearance,” he said.

Ratana said CMAC and Apopo have also worked in partnership with many other de-mining specialists from Bosnia, Norway and Sweden to jointly research other new technologies.

After training the Smart dogs for a period of three to four months, CMAC would equip six of them with the new technology on a trial.

“The materials for equipping the dogs were produced in Geneva and Switzerland and were donated by Apopo and other donors from Geneva and Belgium in the first stage. But later on, CMAC will have to buy the materials and technologies itself. They are quite expensive,” he said.

Michael Heiman, Apopo Cambodia Programme Manager, said on Tuesday that Smart is an electronic system that includes a harness with a camera, speaker and GPS mounted on each dog and controlled by its handler via a smartphone.

The whole kit was developed by GICHD and Digger in Switzerland, and Apopo was selected as an implementing partner. Made for high-quality search, Smart enables dogs to operate in dense vegetation areas without a leash. It has the potential to speed up mine detection.

Heiman said Apopo has had a good long-term partnership with CMAC, with their first collaboration focused on mine detection rats training programme before the launch of the Smart dog training programme in Kampong Chhnang province in 2017.

He said Apopo has highly skilled dog experts who are scouting and selecting high-quality search dogs from Europe before bringing them to Cambodia, where the dogs will go through six to eight months of training together with CMAC dog trainers.

“These dogs are integrated into CMAC’s existing capacity and are monitored closely by CMAC management. We are very much looking forward to continuing developing the Smart operational setup with CMAC and we hope to enlarge this capacity in Cambodia in the near future,” Heiman said.

Ratana said CMAC had been deploying mine-sniffing dogs for demining activities since 1999. The dogs, he said, have detected mines on some 78sq km, leading to the destruction of nearly 20,000 UXOs.

In recognition of the mine-sniffing dogs’ contributions to social development, Ratana said CMAC has made efforts to boost public awareness by sharing knowledge and experience surrounding their demining operations.

The aim, he said, is to make the public appreciate the worthiness of dogs and discourage consumption of their meat.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97