The Landmines Team presents the prototype for their detonation drone.
One of the biggest problems with landmines is that they are detonated via pressure. This means that landmines do not discriminate among targets. Whether it’s a soldier, farmer, or child if, enough weight is applied, the landmine will detonate.
This also leads to problems when attempting to remove landmines. In the past, workers were forced to probe the ground with a stick to detonate possible explosive devices. This was an extremely risky process that led to hundreds of injuries and deaths.
Luckily, technology has improved leading to more innovative and safe ways to detonate landmines in the ground. But many of these methods still pose a risk to both humans and the environment. One such method is a tank flail. These large vehicles roll over areas covered in dormant landmines, detonating the explosives as it moves. Though this method eliminates the potential for human injury, it causes extreme damage to the surrounding environment. The tank destroys the ground as it moves along, rendering hundreds of acres of land completely useless.
The Landmines Team took all this into account when creating the prototype for their detonation drone. They wanted to construct a UAV that could detonate landmines in a safe way that caused the least amount of damage to the environment.
The biggest challenge in doing this is generating enough pressure to detonate a landmine. Typically, it takes around 150 lbs, and the drones they are working with only have the capacity to carry around 50 lbs. So the question is; how do you create 150 lbs of pressure with a device that can’t even carry half that weight?
For the Landmines Team, the answer to this question was pneumatics. They decided to create an attachment that uses pressurized air to push down a metal plate with enough force to detonate a landmine.
The attachment consists of the following materials:
In order to detonate a landmine, the drone will place the shell containing the pneumatic system over the area identified as containing an explosive device. The drone will then fly a safe distance away from the box, remaining attached to it by the tether. Then, the drone will execute a code from a computer that will send a signal through wires in the tether to activate the air tank attached to the pneumatic system. Next, the tank releases pressurized air, activating the pneumatic piston. The piston then pushes the pressure plate down onto the landmine, simulating around 200lbs of force.
This method of detonation provides a simple, fast, and safe way to remove landmines. There is no risk to human life and less environmental damage than many current methods of detonation. The Landmine Team hopes this attachment will completely revolutionize the field of landmine removal.
One big critique the Landmines Team received when they presented their prototype was how they were communicating the ideas for their drone. The technology was so fascinating and innovative, but many felt that this was not coming out in the blog posts. In the coming weeks the group would have to come up with a way to communicate just how exciting this prototype really is and the potential it has to combat a real problem and save lives.