Gurugram-based IoTechWorld Avigation has developed ‘Agribot’, which the company claims to be the first drone that can be carried on a motorcycle. It can be taken to even inaccessible areas and an app developed by the company helps its dealers and service providers to connect with farmers interested in hiring the drone.

Commenting on the journey ahead after the launch of the new model, IoTechWorld’s co-founder and director Anoop Upadhyay said, “We really look forward to big growth in next few years, particularly after the rollout of the drone policy and guidelines issued by the government on spraying of fertilisers and pesticides.”

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Going forward, the company expects its “Drone on Bike” variant will constitute the lion’s share of its total sales. Boxes for Agribot drone, weighing 25 kg including battery and payload (pesticide solution), have been designed specifically for a bike. Accordingly, farmers/service providers will be able to carry drones on their bikes to any field Besides, carrying costs will be cheaper since a bike is more economical than hiring a four-wheeler. Upadhyay also said IoTechWorld is the first company to receive DGCA approval for an agricultural drones in India.

He said the company targets to sell 1,500-2,000 drones this fiscal as it has secured license from the government and guarantees service to the customers. However, there are many other cheaper unapproved drones available in the market which are not reliable. Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are very promising where the response is very good, he said, adding the company plans to make its presence in all the States in a phased manner.

“We have launched an app ‘Agrinet’, which is available on Google Playstore and any farmer can use it to connect with a service provider to hire our Agribot. Initially, only Agribot will be available while the plan is to expand it further by including other brands. This is an incentive for the dealers to sell our drones while the customer intending to rent out can also find the App to be beneficial,” Upadhyay said.

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The cost of the drone is around ₹6.75-10 lakh depending on its carrying capacity of solution of pesticides or water-soluble fertilisers and additional batteries. A drone pilot can fly for two hours using six batteries as one battery lasts around 20 minutes. “Since spraying is done in the morning or evening, the pilot can work for three hours in the morning after which the batteries can be re-charged in 45 minutes and can then beutilised in next shift in evening,” he said, adding that the drone can cover as much as 25-30 acres in six working hours. The real flying time may be 2-.2.5 hours in a shift since one has to keep changing the battery as well as fill up the tank with the pesticide solution, he said, adding actual spraying is done in six minutes to cover an acre of land.

Stressing that 50 per cent of the manufacturing is done in India by using its own software and some components, he said the manufacturing can also done be entirely done in India as the sales increase and farmers adopt this technology on a larger scale. One drone can be used for 5-6 years after which it may have to be replaced. Apart from using for spraying pesticides and fertilisers, Agribot is also useful for crop growth/health mapping and crop cutting experiments to derive the yield.

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