Video: Minesweeping Tank-Bot Shreds Land Mines, Rolling Through Explosions With Ease

Digger D-3 laughs in the face of unexploded ordnance

Digger D-3
The D-3's flail on display.Digger DTR

Technology is helping de-miners find unexploded land mines in new and cool ways, like the metal detectors augmented with smartphones we learned about this spring. And now, there are mine-chomping tank robots that eat mines for breakfast.

The Digger D-3 is the latest creation of Digger DTR, a Swiss non-governmental organization dedicated to designing mine-clearing devices. It has a spinning tiller of death called a flail, made of tungsten hammers that pound 10 inches into the ground. It also has a rolling tiller that can clear vegetation. The remote-controlled tank was brought to light by IEEE Spectrum's robotics blog.

The D-3 is fully armored to withstand land mines and ordnance up to 81mm in diameter, Digger says. It has a four-cylinder, 4.5 L John Deere diesel engine, which can crank out 173 hp at 2400 RPM. The remote-controlled robot is as adept at clearing shrubbery as it is at chomping mines, so it's ideal for minefields with dense vegetation or in mountainous areas, Digger says.

The video below shows its predecessor, the D-2, surviving mine explosions in Sudan. The new model is designed to be easily repaired and modified, enabling it to be used in remote locations with limited resources and plenty of land mines.