A 17-year-old Ukrainian boy rewarded for his demining drones

Igor Klymenko, a young Ukrainian, was rewarded on Tuesday for his prototype demining drones. He received the Chegg.org Global Student Prize, which will allow him to develop his invention on a large scale.

Ukrainian flag on his shoulders, golden statue in his hands and a big smile, it is at the top of Rockefeller Center in New York that 17-year-old Igor Klymenko proudly displays his award. He has just won the Chegg.org student prize of $100,000 for his mine detection drones.

It was in 2014 during the invasion of Crimea by Russia that he had the idea for his drones. He was then 11 years old. Very interested in science, Igor decides to apply his learning to develop demining robots. For this, he was accompanied by a Ukrainian university laboratory.

Its prototypes have already received two official patents from Ukraine. They detect anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines, provide the coordinates of their location within two centimeters.

“It is now my mission to quickly develop my drones to save lives and clear Ukrainian territory in the fastest and safest way,” said Igor Klymenko on CNN. When war broke out in Ukraine in February, he continued to improve his gear from the basement where he spent two months. “I want to help those who protect my country,” he told the American channel, citing Ukrainian soldiers.

Scale up the project

The goal now is to develop a minimum viable product for rapid implementation. He is currently working with various organizations, including the Ukrainian Future Business Incubator.

“Now, we are working to improve these machines, says Igor Klymenko. We are going to add artificial intelligence functions to it. These drones will not only be able to give the coordinates and create a map, but they will also be able to designate the exact type of mine and the way to safely remove it. He will also be able to mark with paint where the mine has been detected. This should make demining faster and safer,” said Igor Klymenko.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, 23% of their territory has been mined by the Russian army and it would take ten years to clear everything.

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