Military Embedded Systems

Mine-detecting drone research underway in UK


October 16, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Mine-detecting drone research underway in UK
Image courtesy UK Ministry of Defence

LONDON, England. Scientists and engineers at the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) are delving into drone technology capable of detecting ground mines, aiming to enhance safety measures for armed forces personnel by clearing mined areas more efficiently, according to a statement from the Ministry of Defence.

The objective is to maintain and improve the freedom of movement for the troops, as surface mines and other explosives pose a safety threat. Current research highlights the intersection of advancements in uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and low size, weight, and power (SWaP) sensing, which have shown promise in detecting explosive threats, the statement reads.

The DSTL collaborated with industry partners for trials in Spain and at the Suffield Research Centre in Canada, in partnership with NATO allies, and the recent two-week NATO trials showcased various UAV-mounted sensor concepts, providing a platform for organizations to exchange knowledge and innovative solutions, the Ministry says.

“Converging the latest drone and sensing technologies could give us the ability to detect and destroy deadly mines and explosives without putting lives at risk, DSTL Chief Delivery Officer Matt Chinn said in the statement. "It could also give us the ability to clear mined areas better, quicker and cheaper – allowing military operations or humanitarian missions to proceed.”

Following the trials, where the UK system exhibited promising results, plans are in motion to utilize the data gathered to further research and development, the Ministry continues, noting that this includes the anticipated integration into upcoming projects like the Ground Area Reconnaissance and Assurance (GARA) project over the next decade.