Technology

Satellite images and artificial intelligence used to find Vietnam War-era unexploded bombs

Unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War can be searched with the help of technology. Scientists and researchers from Ohio State University are using sophisticated artificial intelligence technology and satellite images to find out these unexploded bombs. This technology already has been used in Cambodia to study Vietnam War-era bomb craters. According to one of the statements released by a researcher from Ohio State University, the new techniques can detect true bomb crater by more than 160 percent over standard methods. Erin Lin is co-leading the study of this technology. At Ohio State University he works as an assistant professor of political science. According to Erin Lin, the model they have designed jointly with a record of declassified U.S. military proposes that around 44 to 50 percent of the bombs in the area recorded and studied can stay unexploded.

Lin further added that attempts to discover and safely remove unexploded bombs in Cambodia have not been as effective as needed until now. In addition, she said that there is no link between services that are urgently necessary and the area where they should be applied. This is happening because they are unable to precisely set the target the areas where they should investigate and demine most and first.

This is where their new method should be applied, she said. The process of demining is very time intensive as well as expensive. But the model experts have designed will be useful to find out the most needed and weak areas that should be demined and test first. Researchers started their work with the help of a commercial satellite picture of a 38.6-square mile. This picture is of the area near the Cambodian town on Kampong Trabaek. Researchers explain that, from May 1970 to August 1973, this area was the target of carpet bombing by the U.S. Air Force. And Artificial Intelligence was used to search the pictures for proof of bomb craters by them. Researchers applied algorithms to detect meteor craters on the moon and other planets in the first step of the research.

This applied algorithms helped to find out several potential craters in Cambodia. However, it failed to deliver the depth of results that the experts wanted. Erin Lin identified that the meteors generate larger depression than bombs. But according to Lin, in that area, there’s going to be shrubs and grass growing over craters over the decades. And also there will be erosion take place. That way, the appearance and shape of the depression will be changed. In addition, the second stage of the research used computer algorithms to chomp data about features of the bomb depression such as textures, colors, shapes, and size. This stage helped experts to understand and remove wrong assumptions and features which were similar to bomb but not were caused exactly by an actual bomb. According to the statements written by one of the researchers, one researcher verified the work of computers after machined learned how to detect true bomb craters. And human coding expert later found 177 right bomb craters.

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