HI Chad

Detecting landmines with drones

In Faya-Largeau, Chad, Humanity & Inclusion has begun testing drones to detect landmines and build a detailed picture of what’s on the ground—a revolution in mine clearance. HI Project Manager Xavier Depreytere explains more.

“Our first tests took place in January in the desert south of Faya, an area heavily contaminated by explosives leftover from the conflict with Libya in the 1980s. The drones can scan areas in record time: 750 acres in two hours, which represents a huge time-saving for mine detection teams.

Equipped with a camera, the drone gives a detailed picture of what’s on the ground, along with a set of data such as GPS coordinates. During the initial tests, the drone took a photo of the terrain every two meters. When assembled, the photos provide a highly detailed map.


What is the optimal height for a drone? What type of drones should we use? What data is most useful to mine clearance experts? These are the sorts of questions we are asking in order to make the best use of this technology.”

International Meeting of Mine Action Experts

From February 5 to 7, mine clearance experts gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for the annual mine action meeting organized by the United Nations. HI attended to discuss innovative new mine clearance methods and to draw attention to the organization’s current testing program.

A key topic was also weapons clearance methods for improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—a major challenge in modern demining.

More images from our demining work in Chad:

Our drone operator prepares to send the drone over the desert landscape to see what's ahead


Anti-tank mines found by the team



Explosive devices buried in a hole before HI's demining team produced a controlled explosion


A controlled explosion of the weapons the team found