Mine-hunting drone could make the world a safer place
Designer and entrepreneur Massoud Hassani hopes to rid the planet of its estimated 100 million buried land mines within 10 years. That's why several years ago, he developed the Mine Kafon – a device that rolls across minefields like a tumbleweed, tripping mines as it goes. While it's a clever idea, he still wanted something that works faster. To that end, he is now developing the Mine Kafon Drone.
Currently in working prototype form, the drone takes the form of a custom-made multicopter that can be equipped with different tools. It's designed to seek and destroy mines in a three-step process.
First, equipped with a camera, it flies over the minefield in a grid pattern to create a 3D map of the area. Next, it goes back over with a metal detector hanging beneath it. Located 4 cm (1.6 in) above the ground, that device detects where the mines are buried. Their locations are noted on the map, in the form of GPS waypoints.
Finally, with a gripper swapped in place of the metal detector, the drone returns to the mines and deposits explosives on them, which are then remotely detonated.
Ultimately, Hassani would like to see the whole system be autonomous. He estimates that once it's up and running, it should be 20 times faster and far less expensive than traditional methods such as human or canine crews. Of course, it would also be safer.
If you're interested in helping support development of the Mine Kafon Drone, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.