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Palantir to help Ukraine clear land mines using AI-backed system

Palantir Technologies, the US data analysis firm, will help Ukraine clear its territory of land mines using artificial intelligence, Ukrainian Economy Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko said.

The ministry said a de-mining system designed with Palantir, the firm founded by US billionaire Peter Thiel which is known for its contracts with intelligence agencies around the world, will help set priorities for mine clearance and adjust mine clearing strategies based on big data input.

The system is meant for "humanitarian" mine clearance, a term for the complete de-mining of an area so it can serve regular civilian purposes, rather than military mine clearance, which is often confined to a narrow route to allow for military movement.

"Using artificial intelligence, we will harness big data for informed decision-making, priority setting, and gaining insights into the necessary resources to expedite the demining of Ukrainian territories," Svyrydenko said. "This system will be able to analyse data on potentially mined areas, combine it with data from additional sources, such as social or critical infrastructure, and formulate options for higher-priority demining routes."

She said the system, with an analytics dashboard and an interactive assistant providing real-time data, can be used by all organizations involved in mine clearance.

Svyrydenko said earlier this month that the area to be inspected for mines covers 174,000 square kilometers, or a third of Ukraine. The mines, she said, pose a risk to 6 million people and have already killed 500 people and injured more than 1,000.

Last week, the Economy Ministry said it has a four-year plan to inspect and, if necessary, de-mine more than 470,000 hectares of agricultural land.

The World Bank estimated in March that de-mining Ukraine will cost $37.6 billion, including $10 billion in various surveys and more than $27 billion in actual mine clearance, and take 10 years.

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