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Kickstarter project wants to use drones to rid the world of land mines in 10 years

Every single day, around ten innocent civilians around the world are killed or maimed by land mines. Many of them are children, women and the elderly.

Massoud Hassani wants to change all that. He’s got a plan to rid the world of land mines within the next ten years — and it relies on autonomous drones able to detect explosives from the sky.

Hassani’s Mine Kafon drones (MKDs) fly over dangerous areas of the world mapping, detecting, and detonating land mines from a safe distance. Doing so involves an aerial 3D-mapping system, a robotic arm able to detect mines while the drone hovers above the ground, and the ability to place a small detonator on each mine to safely destroy it using a timer.

It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie — but it’s just audacious enough to have a shot at working. As Hassani points out, the tech-heavy solution isn’t just 20 times faster than traditional de-mining technologies, but it’s 200 times cheaper as well.

“With our new Kickstarter campaign, our goal is to raise funds to be able to develop Mine Kafon drones and deploy them for the de-mining activities,” Hassani told Digital Trends, describing his new fundraising effort. “Before that we need to do [pilot schemes] with local organizations to be able to test the MKDs in different weather conditions and environments.”

Hassani notes that developing the Mine Kafon drone involved two years of cutting-edge R&D. “Along the way we talked with lots of industry experts and listened to their advice,” he says. “We needed to find new ways to detect land mines from the air, and the robotic arm needed to be created and tested with distance sensors to measure the ground. We have [now] developed three different types of robotic extensions since they need to be easy to use.”

To scale the project, Hassani is hoping to crowdfund 70,000 euros ($77,000), which he is doing through Kickstarter. People pledging money can get anything from a personal message to a three-day drone workshop.

And along with your contribution comes the knowledge that you’ve helped create a land mine-free world. Could there be a better Kickstarter reward than that?

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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