Solar Agribot Innovation to Help Sugarcane Farmers

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Author – Srujana Satyavada

Jaykumar-Vaidya-Agri-Robot

There is no doubt the agricultural sector in India urgently needs to improve productivity through mechanized farming and better practices. Our traditional farming is quite labor intensive, but cheap labor is becoming hard to find. Meanwhile, the cost of inputs such as fuel, fertilizers and pesticides is increasing steadily. Further, all the farming equipment are not easily available since they are integrated at one place.

This situation is particularly aggravated for sugarcane farming, where planting requires about 350 man-hours and 30.6-bullock pair-hours of work per hectare. This operation will cost around INR3500-4000 under the conventional system of planting, while mechanical planting costs INR2200/ha. Similarly, the cost of manual harvesting is about INR9900/ha (INR100/ton) with 990 man-hours as against INR15700/ha with a labor requirement of 32 man-hours/ha.

There is an urgent need to make modern farming machinery available at affordable cost to sugarcane farmers. Understanding this need, a bunch of energetic students from the K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering have come up with an innovative solution that is eco-friendly as well! Jaykumar Vaidya along with his teammates, Saumitra Lalsare and Kartik Negandhi came up with the idea of Solar Agribot when they were pursuing their second year of engineering at K J Somaiya. They started off as a team of seven students, but were left with three determined minds at the end.

The innovation finally came through after about a year of research, which was named Solar Agribot to show that it is a solar-powered ‘agricultural robot’. It is a working model prototype that runs majorly on solar power. The Solar Agribot uses a machine learning algorithm and its components are readily available. The equipments used by farmers are way too mechanical, forcing them their labor to use physical strength, but this innovation is powered by electricity.

The mechanism of Solar Agribot is explained below:

  1. Ploughing: The equipment was completely handmade, developed in the welding shop by the innovators
  2. Seeding: It works on the push-pull mechanism powered by a DC motor, which enables seed dropping at regular intervals of time
  3. Soil levelling: After dropping the seed, soil is levelled with the help of the handmade welded equipment
  4. Fertilizer spray: Fertilizer in liquid form is sprayed from the sides through a 12V DC pump
  5. Communication: Communication is a continuous process and is carried in infinite loop till the system is ON. This signal comes via the GSM technology and PSoC5LP. A notification is sent to the farmer’s cell phone via a text message, about machine theft, material, component, immobile machinery and also whether the seed, fertilizer is emptied and the agribot needs reinsertion of material.

There have been similar innovations happening in India and abroad. P. S. V. Kisshann a mechanical engineer from Gokaraju Rangaraju Institute of Engineering Technology has filed a patent for an agricultural robot that can plough the field, water it and sow seeds for a fixed period of time, with the help of a timer.

However, Jaykumar says his Solar Agribot uses a unique machine learning algorithm and can move on its own by using GPS location technology in the field. The students have spent from of their own pockets to build this model, which costs around INR12,000. The college has supported them only to a little extent with respect to competitions, but no monetary support was given as such.

The cost for a mass produced Solar Agribot machine would be around INR4.15 lakhs. If we compare this cost with a regular tractor, is quite cheaper. Jaykumar feels his Solar Agribot innovation could benefit sugarcane farmers in a major way, if they prefer to choose to buy if over a tractor. In 2016, the K J Somaiya team is planning to apply for a patent for this innovation.

They have already showcased their innovation and won various national level prizes in events such as Avalon 2K15, Technomania 2K15, Prakalp 2015 and IIT-Bombay zonal level project competitions. In this endeavor, they are participating in the Capgemini Innovators Race this year.

Working Model of Agribots in Australia.

Image sources –
Factfile –
http://www.thehindu.com
http://www.ijert.org
http://innovatorsrace.com
http://link.springer.com

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Ecoideaz
Ecoideaz is hell bent on proving that sensible green ideas do emerge from India. It is eager to build a comprehensive portfolio of all eco-friendly ideas developed in India and create a repository for innovative green ideas both from the investor and consumer perspective.

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is the most stupidest Idea I could Imagine to be put up in Eco Ideaz or any such form saying or talking about Eco.

    I have no more comments to go in detail and for god sake and for earth sake do not put up such technologies in the category of green technologies.

  2. Hi karun, please specify any reason/point where this idea will prove to be not an eco idea or will not be beneficiary in any sense

  3. Great thanks to Prof.Kiran & both of tech guys
    Kartik Negandhi and Saumitra Lalsare &
    Team:

    Kartik Negandhi:Designing circuits, power supply assembly
    Jaykumar Vaidya:Embedded systems programmer,communication  system & sensors
    Saumitra Lalsare: Assembly & driver circuit engineer
    Dhruv Acharya:Hardware engineer
    Sumeet Ital: PCB design & wiring the vehicle
    Asad Shaikh:Driving & processing mechanisms
    Dhiraj Nakum:Driving & processing mechanisms

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