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A world first in Belgium: using drones to detect underground mines

Helena Spriet
21 November 2019
Handicap International has, in collaboration with Mobility Robotics, for the first time been able to detect underground mines using drones.
 

Thanks to the support of the Belgian Development Cooperation, research into this technology has been carried out since February. The purpose? To reduce the time required for mine clearance operations and to make deminers’ work safer. Xavier Depreytere, drone project manager for Handicap International, says: "This is a small revolution for the humanitarian demining sector."

 

More accurate and safer work

"For several months now, we have been testing the use of drones to improve mine detection in mine-affected areas. Today, we are going even further by locating the mines buried in the ground," explains Xavier Depreytere. The drones are equipped with an infrared camera to measure temperature differences. During tests in a desert area of Chad, such drones were able to locate the presence of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.

"By detecting more accurately the mines underground, our demining teams can work in a safer and more targeted way," points out Xavier Depreytere. The next step is to find additional resources to perform even more tests.

 

Belgian Development Cooperation

In Chad, more than 100 million square meters have been mined and filled with explosive remnants of war. Since September 2018, Handicap International has been experimenting with the use of drones to locate mines in northern Chad as part of the Odyssey-2025 project, funded by Belgian Development Cooperation.

 

100 million mines worldwide

More than 100 million mines buried underground still pose a threat to civilians in more than 60 countries. They slow down the development of such countries. Handicap International and its partners plan to clear 3 million square meters of landmines in Chad within 4 years.

 

Also read Drones to ensure safer demining

 

Humanitarian aid Demining
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