The Ukrainian Efarm.Pro company developed an unmanned solution for demining farm fields ahead of the upcoming planting season. Efarm.Pro is a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment, precision farming systems and has been integrating the latest technologies in the agricultural sector since 2014. The company designs and manufactures auto-steering solutions for tractors in the agtech market in Ukraine.
According to the company, as a result of the military actions in eastern Ukraine, up to 40% of agriculture fields are now unsafe for cultivation and contaminated with explosive devices.
The demining device includes a drone, a demining robot, an autopilot and a tractor-mounted system capable of withstanding an explosion. The company was forced to innovate and leverage existing auto-steer solutions to create an autonomous tractor designed specifically for the purpose of demining agriculture fields for Ukrainian farmers.
The system includes a drone, a demining robot, an autopilot and a tractor-mounted system capable of withstanding an explosion. The system is controlled remotely from a safe distance and protects the operator.
The inventor of this solution is Oleksandr Prykhodchenko, owner of the company “Gardarika Tres”, a resident of the Ukrainian Future business incubator. He is the CEO of the startup Efarm.Pro which is the navigation technology at the heart of the solution.
Prykhodchenok recognized the dangers of the war for the agriculture sector in Ukraine. He set out to leverage the existing technology to create a new solution for the purpose of demining agricultural fields so that the farmers could get back to work producing food.
“My farmer clients talked about a critical problem – the impossibility of working on mined lands. Those who nevertheless risked going into the field were often blown up by mines, lost their equipment, or even their lives. Given the scale of mine pollution — the UN already called Ukraine one of the most mined countries in the world — farmers would have to wait for years for their turn to clear hundreds and thousands of hectares of land. So the need for alternative safe demining became obvious,” says Oleksandr.
The demining solution provides three levels of surveying of territories and disposal of dangerous objects:
First, the field is scanned by a drone equipped with appropriate sensors and equipped with a function to transmit the exact coordinates of the location of explosive devices with geo-reference. It detects explosives at a depth of up to 1 meter. Any mine is neutralized by a demining robot and certified sappers.
Next, a remote-controlled tractor with a trailed protection system goes to the field, it processes the topsoil, which guarantees the safety for future operations.
The tractor works in autonomous mode without an operator in the cab, preventing any further injury to the operator. In addition, the equipment is equipped with protective equipment that works according to the principle of a mine trawler. This process guarantees that nothing dangerous will remain in the ground. The system provides for automatic work on large areas with an accuracy of 2 cm along a given route. The tractor passes the field at a speed of 5 km/h, and is able to survey 20 hectares of land in a 10-hour working day, according to the company.
A customized autonomous autopilot is used and can bypass obstacles in the field. The tractor is equipped with additional armor plates to protect the tractor against mines and improvised explosive devices.