Manual pesticide spraying is an extremely hazardous activity and can endanger the health of farmers and workers, resulting in heavy use of toxic chemicals. These pesticides can enter the body through inhalation or ingestion. Most pesticides cause adverse effects if intentionally or accidentally ingested or if they are in contact with the skin for a long time.
As agriculture is the backbone of some countries such as India, we need to find an advanced alternative to dangerous manual pesticide spraying.
Using cutting edge drone technology, students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed a “Smart Agricopter,” which aims to replace manual spraying of pesticides in the agriculture fields. Additionally, the installed imaging camera assists them to identify and fix crop health and status.
Smart Agricopter will enable spraying pesticides ten times faster and with 100% accuracy at the same cost as manual spraying.
By identifying the problems that farmers might face while spraying pesticides, the group of three students at IIT Madras planned to design a device that would eliminate the need for farmers to come in contact with pesticides as well as cleverly identify which crops on the farm require pesticides and which did not.
The hexacopter drone comes equipped with an advanced multispectral imaging camera that creates smart maps of farmland based on crop health. Its fully autonomous pesticide refilling system ensures the whole spraying is completely autonomous.
The current version of the drone can carry around 15 liters of pesticides. The team has also filed a patent for their Smart Agricopter whose price is estimated to be around Rs.5.1 lakh.
In June, the team was received Rs.10 lakh worth equity-less funding after their product won the Indian Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP 2.0) University Challenge held at IIT Bombay.
“Our current challenge is to complete the construction of their alpha prototype and work towards testing the efficiency of their product on farms across the nation,” said Akash Anand, an engineering design student.