According to experts' estimates, the cost of complete demining of Ukrainian lands could reach $50 billion. But the problem is not only about money. Ukraine needs fundamentally new technologies that no specialized international organizations currently possess. Therefore, Ukrainian developers who better understand the needs and nuances of the "market" and refine their devices with the help of the State Emergency Service (SES) and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are gradually joining this "niche." Mind has found more than ten domestic "assistants" to sappers developed after the full-scale invasion.

Autonomous Mine-clearing Tractor

Розмінування по-українськи: чотири саперні розробки вітчизняних винахідників. Що вміє ця техніка та скільки коштуєWhat can the tractor do? Autonomously, without a driver, it can neutralize mines in agricultural fields. The operator can control the machine from a tablet at a distance of 4 km and track the specified route. The mine-clearing tractor, weighing about 14.5 tons, enters the field with a trailer system that serves as a mine roller. If it encounters a mine, the protective equipment takes the main impact, leaving the tractor intact.

"The navigator and autopilot work with two-centimeter precision. We use corrections for precision agriculture systems. Therefore, the tractor can clear the field with minimal - 5 cm - overlap. This means that the mine-clearing process is faster, without re-running over already processed strips of land. Similar technology is used in spraying to precisely and evenly treat areas," explains the developer, owner of the company "Guardarika Tres" (TM Efarm Pro) Oleksandr Prykhodchenko.

The mine-clearing tractor moves at a speed of 5 km/h. A unit with a width of 3 m can survey 20 hectares in 10 hours.

Why do farmers need such tractors if professional sappers work in the field before allowing people in? Standard metal detectors can't "see" all types of mines, and Russian terrorists have learned to hide them well. Unfortunately, there have already been tragic incidents. "Farmers say they are afraid to go out into the field. They say it's a human factor, what if something is overlooked. And the price of such mistakes is human lives," clarifies Oleksandr Prykhodchenko.

Moreover, the mine-clearing tractor can neutralize plastic mines that drones or sappers cannot detect.

When did the development start? "Guardarika Tres" specializes in precision agriculture systems since 2016. It manufactures agro-navigators, autopilots, control and parallel driving systems, equipment for controlling sprayers, and more.

The idea of ​​developing a mine-clearing tractor arose shortly after the full-scale invasion. At that time, the team was "scattered": some people found themselves in occupation. However, employees continued to work and accept orders. "Already on the third day of the big war, a client called. Then another one, and another... They said they wanted to work safely in the field. At that time, most clients anticipated field mine-clearing."

The team presented the first version of the complex in the spring of 2023. Later, it was modernized. "The more standard the solution, the easier it is for a person to learn to control it, and for us to duplicate the product. Farmers need the most efficient and simultaneously simple solutions capable of covering large areas of land," explains the owner of the company.

What stage of production are you at? We're at the initial stage. "We've improved the development and recently arrived at the required model. It's already at the factory. We'll release it soon. Serial production is our main goal. That's why we're structuring most processes to be ready to present the product for the market in a serial manner," says Oleksandr Prykhodchenko.

He further specifies: the team still wants to further refine some nuances of the tractor's protection. We've already conducted preliminary testing of this protection and plan to test a new layout with sappers on the proving ground. Certification of the development will be required afterward.

How many can you produce? Currently, 2-3 machines per month. If there's significant demand, the company can increase production volumes.

What's the cost? The final estimate will be announced by the company after another round of testing on the proving ground. "Currently, it's around $147,000. We want the price to be seven times cheaper than imported analogs, which cost nearly 1 million euros. Another goal is to make the base, chassis, and protection quickly and inexpensively repairable, meaning finding necessary spare parts in Ukraine," explains the developer.

Who are the potential clients? Not just farmers. The company hopes that the government, funds, and other foreign partners interested in helping to solve the demining problem will participate in purchases. During the Russian invasion, many farms lost equipment parks, hangars, and so on. And currently, not everyone is capable of dealing with this independently without financial support.

"So, we've partnered with others and established the public organization Food Security Pro. Its task is to provide demining machines to small farmers who lost almost everything due to the war. It's crucial to support them now. Through the public organization, we're trying to convey to international partners how important demining Ukrainian fields is for Ukraine and the world," explain those in the company.

Are additional investments needed? Currently, the project is fully financed by internal and partnership funds. "We haven't sought external investments. However, we plan to upgrade our development in the future - to create a truly unique technological machine. To produce the second version with software refinement and some other innovations that will significantly differentiate the machine from analogs on the global market, we'll need approximately $300,000. So, we'll consider possible investment after the full launch of the first version," concludes Oleksandr Prykhodchenko.


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