The Mine Kafon Drone plans to help clear all mines globally in under 10 years. The airborne demining system recently completed a successful kickstarter campaign that raised over 177 ooo Euros.
We live in a world where nations are perpetually at war. It would be very difficult to recall a period in human history when there was complete peace.
Soldiers employ various tactics to safeguard their zones and one of them includes placing landmines in strategic spots. Long after the war is over, when everything is done and dusted, these mines linger and are still active.
This poses a major threat to the lives of the inhabitants in such regions. Communities are constantly fearing for their lives as they trek through such terrain. Can you imagine a world where all of these mines are disarmed and removed? That is what Massoud Hassani envisions.
Born in Afghanistan, Hassani arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee from his war-torn nation. He wanted to do something to solve a serious problem that he lived through every single day as a child.
The Mine Kafon Drone
After graduating from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, he began working with a multi-talented team of designers and engineers. The team came up with an ingenious solution to eliminating mines.
Rather than having a deminer physically walk over such dangerous areas and scan the grounds, they proposed to have a flying drone, the Mine Kafon Drone, do the job.
There are currently over 100 million landmines worldwide. In addition,10 innocent people are either killed or severely injured by them everyday. Landmines can be found in more than 50 nations right now, with Columbia, Cambodia, and Afghanistan being the prime hot spots. Thousands of civilians in these areas are killed every year.
Using current technologies and methods, it would take more than a millennium to clear all landmines on this planet. The Netherlands- based startup plans to do that in just 10 years.
Saving Lives and Demining costs
The Mine Kafon Drone (MKD) is an unmanned aerial demining system capable of disarming drones from afar. The UAV accomplishes this using a three step procedure – map, detect, and detonate.
The MKD is a hexacopter with an attachable robotic arm. The drone flies over a particular terrain and scans or maps the entire ground beneath it. Thus the UAV creates a 3D visual image of the entire area with GPS coordinates.
The image also contains information of hot spots where mines potentially lie. The metal detecting arm hovers above the ground, maintaining a distance of 4 cm. Any mine that is detected is instantly tagged on the operator’s computer system for detonation. The MKD is equipped with a robotic gripping arm and places a tiny detonator on the landmines.
The operator then detonates them from a safe distance, ensuring that the drone is undamaged in the entire process.
In traditional demining, animals and humans are used to scout the area for landmines. Afterwards, a deminer is given the information acquired by animals and is tasked to manually locate them using a landmine detector and disarm them. Such techniques are extremely dangerous to the animals and people involved, putting their lives at risk.
In addition, some terrain is very difficult to access by foot, and most significantly, the entire process is very slow.
In comparison to modern methods, the Mine Kafon Drone presents several advantages:
- It is a UAV so nobody’s life is put at risk, making it very safe
- It can do the job 20 times faster than a deminer can
- The Mine Kafon Drone is 200 times cheaper since there are no labor costs involved
As it is quite sturdy and robust, the MKD can still operate and perform its duties even in harsh weather conditions. The ability to map the entire terrain provides a lot of information that can be analyzed. This makes the decision-making process easier before the actual detonation process begins.
Moreover, the MKD is a modular drone system, meaning that attachments such as sensors and tools can be added on to enhance its functionality to perform a variety of tasks. This leads Hassani to pose the question, “What if we could wipe out all the landmines in 10 years?”
In the past three years, the Mine Kafon Foundation, a Research and Development company in the Netherlands, have been raising awareness of the dangers and threats of landmines. The foundation has been holding seminars worldwide and creating new strategies to eradicate the presence of landmines.
The foundation has crowdsourced several engineers and designers and have invited them to work on this humanitarian endeavor. In addition their success on the crowdfunding site KickStarter also shows how much support and goodwill people have for the project.
“So far, we have already developed several working prototypes of the Mine Kafon Drone” said Massoud Hassani.
“We have performed tests with the Dutch Ministry of Defense on their territory and spoke with their experts on demining difficulties. The Mine Kafon Drone is now ready to embark on its next step.”
The Mine Kafon Drone has already earned many awards and recognitions from various publications and organizations. The campaign has already been backed by more than 2,800 individuals and has received well over €110,000 in funding, far exceeding its pledge of €70,000.
The project was initiated on Kickstarter in June 2016 and was successfully funded, surpassing its initial goal by a wide margin. As the Mine Kafon Drone gets to work and begins detecting and detonates landmines one at a time, – that will be many lives saved.