Technology academics from University of Central Lancashire are teaching the Cambodian armed services how to use commercial drones in a bid to identify land mines.
The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, which is looking to rid the country of its millions of unexploded land mines, has acquired high street level drones for its mine clearing operation.
The university has trained the service in using DJI quadcopters for its drone pioneering project.
The RCAF will now be able to map out terrain that could potentially contain mines and identify suspicious items or roadside devices having to physically enter those spaces.
Dr Darren Ansell, space and aerospace lead at UCLan, said: “It’s surprising that the use of drones to support mine clearance operations is not more common now that the technology is readily available, particularly in countries like Cambodia which is one of the most heavily mined areas in the world.
“This is certainly one of the first uses by the RCAF of off-the-shelf high street drones for this type of operation. It’s a simple tool but it will go a long way towards increasing the safety of Cambodia’s armed forces when they’re surveying dangerous spaces or suspicious objects, and will ultimately save lives.”
Lieutenant general Ken Sosavoeun, deputy general director of the RCAF’s National Center for Peacekeeping Force Mine and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Clearance (NPMEC), said: “Darren’s team did a fantastic job to train the RCAF on landmine and unexploded ordinance clearance by using drones.
“Mines are still a very large problem, not just in Cambodia, but around the world, and this technology will help us to address this problem while minimising risk to the teams involved. Two drones are already flying regularly to produce maps and conduct air surveillance around the barracks and along roads in the Central Africa Republic as part of a United Nations mission.”