Drones and AI Are New Recruits in Battle Against Landmines


This headline is brought to you by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) which works to support resilience and recovery in global communities affected by war and conflict.

(Columbia Magazine) Over a hundred million landmines and unexploded ordnance in war zones cause thousands of civilian casualties annually, with humanitarian efforts hindered by slow, risky manual clearance. Columbia PhD candidate Jasper Baur proposes adapting drone-mounted imaging systems and AI, commonly used in volcanology, for faster and safer mine detection. Baur's technology, tested with 90% accuracy in identifying the PFM-1 mine, relies on detecting temperature differences between the mine and surroundings.

Despite attracting attention from organizations like the UN, the drones have not been deployed in the field. A trial in Ukraine showcased successful identification of antitank mines, grenades, and projectiles, prompting Baur and his partner, Gabriel Steinberg, to fine-tune techniques with hopes of aiding global demining efforts. Their nonprofit, Demining Research Community, supports scientists developing mine-clearing tools. The urgency is emphasized by Ukraine's one-third coverage with landmines, where farmers attempt hazardous clearances. Baur emphasizes the potential to map out minefields before human entry, expediting demining and preventing injuries.

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Published: Friday, January 12, 2024

Last Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2024

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