senseFly’s UAVs to Help Demining
senseFly’s UAVs, designed for mapping missions, have been selected by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to analyze the benefits, potential uses and costs efficiency of miniature surveying drones for use in mine action.
The GICHD is an international expert organization based in Switzerland that works to eliminate mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and other explosive hazards. They work with national and local authorities to help them plan, coordinate, implement, monitor and evaluate mine action programs. The extent of the contamination worldwide is still unclear, however according to specialists more than one third of the world countries are touched. Around 70 people are killed or injured every day by landmines; this is more than 20,000 children, man or woman per year.

Up to now the main methods used for humanitarian demining on land were: manual detection using metal detectors, detection by specially trained dogs, and mechanical clearance using armored vehicles. However most of the affected areas lack precise and up-to-date maps to support minesweepers in their task.

This is why the GICHD decided to run a feasibility study to determine the utility and benefits of using UAVs in emergency operations and humanitarian mine action.

senseFly’s drones were selected to test the complete work flow (flight preparation, takeoff and landing controls, and image extraction) for their “accessibility, cost, compactness for an easily transportable system, ease of use, takeoff, landing radius and robustness”. Used with the included eMotion (electronic monitoring station) professional software for flight planning and control, the drone represents a great low-cost alternative to satellite imagery.

Four GICHD staff members carried out multiple test flights in Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Sweden, their experience with the drone is detailed in a case study called “Miniature aerial photography planes in mine action” written by Inna Cruz and Daniel Eriksson.

The acquired drone imagery enabled the GICHD to facilitate planning, recording, and reporting during the demining operations, confirming the idea that UAVs are promising in humanitarian mine action. As Inna Cruz and Daniel Eriksson said in their case study, senseFly’s drones are “highly mature, easy to use, quick to deploy and provide useful high resolution, geo-referenced imagery”. One of the main benefits is their robustness, durability and field-worthiness.

senseFly’s device is now in the hands of the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) for independent testing. This project resulted in the Geodetics Workshop (summer 2013), which was the first global workshop on imagery and geodetics for mine action. Using UAS in humanitarian mine action was one of the topics.

Today the second generation of senseFly’s drones, the eBee, is being tested, bringing additional advantages such as 3D flight planning and optical terrain sensor, enabling successful operation in mountainous areas. Furthermore it’s capability to precisely land in very small locations and to be transported easily makes it the ideal companion. The future will show if its newly enhanced mapping software Terra 3D, which includes for the first time a full 3D reconstruction (limiting artefacts), orthoimage projection and the innovative rayCloud, will improve the results of the operation even more.



senseFly is a Swiss company that develops, produces and commercializes autonomous ultra light flying drones (also called UAVs) and related software solutions. The technology behind senseFly’s solution first emerged in 2001, when a team of robotic researchers at EPFL began investigating the control and navigation strategies of flying insects. This pioneering research enabled the development of a highly integrated autopilot employing smart control strategies similar to those found in flies and bees. senseFly was founded in late 2009 and launched its first commercial product shortly after. The swinglet CAM is a flying drone for aerial imagery acquisition and mapping.
In 2012 senseFly joined the Parrot Group and is since then more than ever pioneering the field of flying drones for mapping and GIS applications. Its latest product, the eBee, was launched in October 2012. The company currently counts more than 50 employees.

senseFly Ltd.
Route de Genève 38
1033 Cheseaux-Lausanne
+41 21 552 04 40

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