Detecting Problems Through Solutions and Critiques

Detecting Problems Through Solutions and Critiques

The Landmines Team presents the prototype of their detonation drone.

Detecting dormant landmines underground takes a lot more than just a simple metal detector. Workers are forced to navigate through dangerous territory and be wary of false positives that could cost them valuable time and effort. Landmines are also sometimes manufactured with materials other than metal, rendering the common metal detector useless. These are all things the Landmines Team was forced to keep in mind when producing the prototype of their detection drone.

Luckily, the Team’s focus is the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina where most of the landmines are older and metallic. According to an article on Roads and Kingdoms, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most mined country in Europe. This is largely a result of the Bosnian War in the early 1990’s. During this conflict, mines were deployed heavily and many were never removed or disarmed.

Despite mass removal efforts, landmines continue to affect Bosnia and Herzegovina to this day. Even worse, in these removal efforts accidental detonations are frequent. In the past twenty years, 120 deminers have been involved in accidents and forty-seven of them have died.

The Landmines Team hopes they can successfully remove these dangerous objects without any of the risks involved with using human workers. Fortunately, a lot of areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina have already been flagged as containing landmines so it’s a great place to begin using our UAVs.

In order to gather more information about the location of landmines, the detection drone will be equipped with a variety of different sensors that can accurately map the possible location of explosive devices. Some of these attachments will be permanent and others will be swappable to make the drone as accurate as possible.

The following infographic describes all of the permanent and swappable attachments that will be used on the drone:



Hover with your mouse to interact with the picture!

Using these attachments, the drone will sweep over potential minefields with the various attachments and send the data back to a computer in order to create a map of possible landmine locations. On the first sweep, the LIDAR sensor will be used to provide a general overview of the area and eliminate any dense vegetation from the mapping process. The second sweep will use a magnometer to provide a more detailed analysis of what lies under the ground and whether or not it is metallic. On the third sweep an infared camera will scan the ground to detect pockets in the ground with little moisture, a tell tale sign of a landmine. The fourth sweep will use two metal detectors in order to determine whether metallic elements exist among any of the anomalies determined in previous sweeps. The fifth and final sweep consists of the drone and a microwave sensor that will provide the most detailed analysis of what is underneath the ground in suspicious areas. (Possible Infographic of some sort)

Rough sketch of landmine detection
Rough sketch of landmine detection

All of the information from these sweeps will be compiled in a computer system and then used to generate a detailed and accurate map of landmine locations. This process will eliminate the need for human workers and reduce the chance of false positives.


On October 26, the Landmines Team presented this prototype and a description of its’ function to everyone involved in the 4VA Drones Project. They were met with both praise and criticism.

The students and instructors were really interested in the technology being used by the team. They thought it was a really efficient and innovative way to solve a tough problem. But the main criticism was that many did not know what that problem was.

Many of the critiques given focused around how the story of the project was being told. The team realized that though they had a solid prototype, they had to provide a narrative that created need for that prototype. They have such an interesting issue they are attempting combat but it’s not really coming out in their media as of yet.

The Landmines Team knew that the coming weeks would be a proving ground for their project. They would have to craft a story that both interested and excited a wide audience. So they returned to the drawing board, ready to get back to work.


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