Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Dealing with landmines

An EU group is developing new techniques for detecting and dealing with landmines. The study compared existing technologies, evaluated their ethical usage and devised new technologies, including innovative sensors and a laser neutralisation system.
Dealing with landmines
Landmines and similar bombs persist long after cessation of the conflicts for which they were deployed, posing a serious danger to civilians. At the current rate of clearance, it will take centuries to rid the world of landmines.

The EU-funded D-BOX project aims to devise an integrated set of flexible tools and solutions for mapping, detecting, neutralising and removing mines. The developments will optimise field operations, reducing the cost and improving the speed of clearance. The 20-member project runs for 3 years to the end of 2015.

Consortium members initially reviewed current demining activities, focusing on assessment of existing tools in order to focus on the most helpful. The resulting list was assessed for potential refinements, using a specific metric developed by the project.

The team also considered the impact of new technologies from an ethical viewpoint. The work produced a set of cultural guidelines, which help decision makers and other stakeholders consider the social and legal implications of demining. Other legal and quasi-legal issues were documented regarding in-field demonstrations. The study also assessed the ethical and legal implications of using genetically modified organisms for biodetection of explosives.

Project tools have been integrated and a user interface developed, yielding a toolbox concept. After in-group discussion, the team defined pertinent components, including a baseline, usage cases, priorities, tool catalogue and the data formats to be used.

D-BOX set out to improve existing methods of long- and short-range detection, and to develop new techniques for the latter. The group created innovative sensors capable of short-range detection of plastic or metallic mines and cluster munitions. The sensors also separate explosives from a background of harmless soil features. The project achieved hazard-zone reduction using space- and aerial-assets, and developed space components for Global Navigation Satellite System and communication technologies.

A laser neutralisation system was designed and built, and its performance has been simulated. The consortium has also collected and analysed existing training material.

The D-BOX project extended current demining capability. The modular toolkit is customisable to various circumstances, and can improve on the rate of mine clearance.

Related information

Subjects

Security

Keywords

Landmines, neutralisation, biodetection, explosives, cluster munitions
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