Bomb Detecting Drones
According to a recent article, there are an estimated 100 million live land mines in the world. Many of these are from conflicts long past, but some are placed to sway the outcome of a current battle. Unfortunately there are no maps to show exactly where these land mines are planted. The Mine Kafon Drone can detect and destroy land mines and is currently looking for Kickstarter funding. It works by mapping an area and then using a metal detector to locate the mines within that area. When one is found, it is tagged with a GPS detector to mark its location. The drone then returns to the operator to be fitted with a robotic arm so that it can place small detonators on the mine. The mines are then detonated remotely with both the drone and the operator out of harm’s way. This is a great example of technology being applied to a serious and life threatening problem throughout the world.
Robots in Police Work
Police and rescue personnel use robots to find and retrieve missing people. These robots or drones can search for people in dangerous places; once a person is detected, the rescuers can plan a safe way to extract them. This is important in situations where someone is in a collapsed building or in an area where there are toxic chemicals.
Similar robots are now being used to neutralize a threat such as an active shooter. These robots are fitted with cameras and sensors, even guns or explosives when the mission is to eliminate the threat. These are used only as a last resort when negotiations break down or are not possible. As I think about the future of such devices, I wonder if we could apply this technology to war strategy. Can we ever get to a point where we choose an isolated location and each side sends out their best drones and robots to try to destroy the other side? The operators and other humans could be safe, far away from the conflict. Would it mean as much to blow up each other’s devices as to actually harm people? It would certainly be safer for us.
I am grateful for those who are developing technology to improve the safety of the men and women who protect us. I will be watching the development of the Mine Kafon Drone and other devices that detect and remove threats. Let me know of any similar technologies that you are aware of. I think this is a young but growing field.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.