“…The landmines that plague Ukraine following six months of drawn-out fighting have a new enemy as minesweeping teams get a boost from high-tech drones.
The big picture: As much as 62,000 square miles of Ukrainian land could be “contaminated” by mines, per Kyiv’s most recent estimate. Removing all those explosives-in-waiting will take years, if not decades.
Why it matters: Landmines are indiscriminate, killing both soldiers and civilians, and pose a threat even well after a conflict ends.
- Mines killed or injured at least 7,073 people around the world in 2020, per the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. Civilians made up 80% of those casualties, and among that group, at least half were children.
- Drones, robots and similar tech can help reduce the inherent danger of locating buried mines.
Driving the news: Canadian drone-maker Draganfly is supplying de-mining groups in Ukraine with a handful of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) decked out with a suite of sensors designed to map areas with suspected mines.
- Those sensors can include magnetometers, several different kinds of cameras, radar and more, says Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell.
- Draganfly expects to have nearly two dozen mine-spotting drones flying in Ukraine by year’s end…”