There are something called “butterfly” land mines which are deathly for two main reasons. If a child picks up the green toy looking thing from the mine, it can either kill or make the child crippled for life. The detonators of these mines can go off even by a soft touch of someone’s footsteps. However, the worst part is – it would not kill someone immediately but cause serious wounds. Till date in Afghanistan, over a million of such dangerous mines can be found. They are the remnants of the Soviet-Russian war during the 1980s. The military used to drop these mines from helicopters.
Assistant Professor of Energy Geophysics at Binghamton University, Alex Nikulin believes that the sole way to get rid of these mines is by poking each part of the ground. They are using drone cameras for the purpose. The flight trials are being held during sunrise and sunsets because the temperature changes quite fast during those times. The drone cameras can easily click photographs of PFM-1 land mines which are prominently visible. During September, 2017, approximately 78% mines could be successfully removed in a trial at New York State Park.
The drone cameras require more specification in order to entirely substitute the ground teams. However, it would be quite helpful in chalking out a map of the PFM-1 land mines. Once the area can be figured out, the manual labor would become quite inexpensive and the work can be completed quite faster. Using thermal images to find out land mines is not a new technology. But after the devices got smaller and prices got reduced, the idea became more palpable.
To bring in more advancement, software can be used to find the land mines. The funding is a serious issue here; Swiss foundation depends much on donors. Drones are also often prohibited in conflict prone zones such as Afghanistan.