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DIGGER DTR D-3 robot hunts for mines


July 21, 2011

The D-3 is a robotic vehicle that uses a chain flail or tiller to detonate land mines (Photo: DIGGER DTR)

The D-3 is a robotic vehicle that uses a chain flail or tiller to detonate land mines (Photo: DIGGER DTR)

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According to UNICEF, there are currently over 110 million live land mines buried in the soil of various countries around the world, left over from conflicts that occurred up to 50 years ago. While various organizations are working on locating and removing those mines, it's proving to be a long and laborious process. Instead of precisely pinpointing and then disarming each device, however, one has to wonder ... wouldn't it be easier to just go around thumping on the ground and getting them to go off? Well, it just happens that DIGGER DTR's hulking D-3 robotic vehicle does exactly that.

The remote-controlled track-driven D-3 is capable of triggering mines using either a chain flail or tiller attachment, down to a depth of 25 centimeters (9.8 in). By swapping in standard Caterpillar attachments such as shovels or forks, it can also perform functions such as the clearing of vegetation or debris. Its body is completely steel-plated, and features a V-shaped undercarriage, designed to deflect the force of explosions out to either side. Its mechanical systems, including hydraulics, cooling, and the 173 hp John Deere diesel engine, are easy for field mechanics to access via large hatches - keep in mind, this machine is often used in remote locations, lacking in infrastructure.

It can reportedly clear all of the mines from an area at a rate of 1,000 square meters (10,764 sq. ft.) an hour.

Operators can control the D-3 from a maximum distance of 500 meters (1,640 ft), although a distance of between 50 to 300 meters (164 to 984 ft) is recommended. An included portable blast shield helps protect the operator from flying shrapnel and debris.

The D-3 has actually been around for a years now, and it's not without its rivals - a very similar vehicle known as the MineWolf has been detonating mines since at least 2008. Both products are made in Switzerland.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

If anyone would buy me one of these for Christmas, I promise to use it to fight crime.


P.S. Thank you Switzerland for working to clean up the evil remains of wars you didn\'t start or fight in. For that and good chocolate, we the world salute you.


If clearing landmines was that easy..... Gizmag should be a bit more selective about stupid product placement of things that cannot work. Regards from the minefields of Angola.

Facebook User

Alfred Dasbach - The flail type landmine clearing device has been used since WWII to clear landmines because they work real well. They tear up the vegetation, and ground. This isn\'t all bad, they leave the field ready for planting.


Now to get these things to Lybia ASAP - getting rid of Colonel Gaddafi\'s final defences.

Greg Zeng

or wipe out a poppy field laden with IEDs.

Paul Friedrich

...Or dealing with that pesky gopher from Caddyshack.


Slovakia is producing this kind of technology for about 20 years. It is called Bozena (BTW: nice girls name) http://www.bozena.eu/. They used this in many place of world.


@ Alfred Dasbach.

Perhaps Alfred could be more specific in his comments, whilst remembering that the subjunctive of \'was\' is \'were\' as in:

\"If clearing landmines was that easy\"

\"If clearing landmines were that easy\".

Correct grammar always ensures comprehension and credibility.

Would the phrase \"stupid product placement of things\" be intended to infer that:

A. The product is stupid, or B. The placement of the product is stupid?

PLease clarify...... Ian Colley.


The Danish company Hydrema have been making a (non-robotic) machine like this for the last 10years at least.. It\'s scary standing beside one of them when running, I can tell you that!

Alfred: I know for a fact that these machines have merit, of course dependant on the terrain..

Ian Colley: hmm perhaps Alfred\'s first language isn\'t English? Mine isn\'t, are you going to spell check my comment? Get a life!


Please note the recent podcast interview with Frederic Guerne of DTR, the link to which can be found on the mindsclearinglandmines Wordpress blog. Use of the Digger D-2 can only guarantee 95-99% clearance, not enough to release the affected land for use. A second pass using manual de-miners is required to achieve 100% clearance. Also note that no one method of clearing landmines--including the Digger--works for all situations.

Minds Clearing Landmines
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