Even decades after a conflict ends, land mines still pose a danger, but finding them has always been a challenge. Now a very accurate AI model has been developed by Japanese IT and electronics firm, NEC Corporation, inspired by a 2019 conversation with ICRC consultant Martin Jebens. NEC will offer the system for real-world use by March 2024, after further refinement and testing. NEC and ICRC began in 2021 by partnering with scientists at Waseda University in Tokyo, who were already working on de-mining with drones that relied on AI-based image-recognition technology. In 2022, during a test project in a region where land mines were known to be present, the AI achieved a 90% accuracy rate for both probable land-mine areas and areas likely to be land-mine-free. “In the future, you won’t have to wait until someone actually steps on a mine to find these contaminated areas and make them safe for people again,” says Jebens.

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