An “agricopter” designed by three students of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has won them funds.
The “agricopter” was developed by Rishab Verma, a student of chemical engineering, Kavin Kailash, studying aerospace engineering, and Akash Anand, pursuing engineering design. The team won at the finals of the Indian Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0 University Challenge, held in IIT-Bombay in June.
The smart drone is equipped with a multispectral imaging camera to map a farmland based on crop health. It has a fully automated pesticide refilling system. The current version is a hexacopter drone that can carry 15 litres of pesticide. The team is currently building an alpha prototype and will test it in farms around Chennai. Team Agricopter is targeted at private farmers, with three acres or more, to whom the drone would be provided as a one-stop service.
The team has received ₹10 lakh of equity-less funding. It began as a startup in IIT-M’s bootcamp at the E-Summit and finished runners-up, winning ₹30,000 from the E-Cell. In the next 10 months, the team would have to build an alpha prototype. If the product is satisfactory, the students will receive an additional ₹25 lakh, according to the team’s leader Mr. Verma.
“The drone will work well on crops 1-1.5 m tall. Our target is to ensure that droplets from the spring system installed in the drone reach every part of the crop. For that purpose, crops like paddy, wheat and cotton are ideal,” he said.
The idea for the project came as an answer to farm labourers in his grandparents’ farm at Rawatsar in upper Rajasthan, Mr. Verma added. “I have seen farmers spraying pesticides as a child. I used to see them but did not understand the problems,” he added.