Agritech start-up Niqo Robotics plans to bring about one lakh acres under its spot spraying service by the end of this year. Niqo offers agrochemical spraying as a service to farmers and has taken up the spraying in about 26,000 acres, mainly for the cotton crop grown in the Akola region of Maharashtra and bordering Madhya Pradesh this kharif season.

The company had deployed a fleet of 50 spot spraying machines that leverage artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted computer vision for targetted spraying of chemicals on the plants.

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“We have completed three rounds of spot spraying on cotton in parts of Akola and farmers have seen significant savings when compared to the traditional blanket spraying of agrochemicals. On an average, cotton farmers have saved about 42 per cent in terms of chemicals used when compared with traditional spraying,” Jaisimha Rao, CEO and Founder, Niqo Robotics.

Cost, water savings

The company has started offering the spot spraying service to chilli growers in parts of Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka. “Spot spraying in chillies is picking up,” Rao said, adding that the efficacy is high and farmers not only save in terms of chemicals used, but also the water usage.

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For the chilli crop, Niqo Robotics is deploying the spot sprayers in the key growing regions of Guntur, Khammam and Bellary among others. “Next year, we will try to maximise the use of these machines and explore the possibility of using them in other crops. We are targetting to cover a cropped area of around 1 lakh acres under spot spraying by the end of this year,” Rao said, adding that the company has also been receiving overseas enquiries for its spraying machines.

Niqo Robotics, formerly known as TartanSense, has developed the proprietary AI spot-spraying technology stack and mounted it on the Shaktiman boom sprayers. Through the village-level entrepreneurs, the company is offering spot spraying of agrochemicals as a service to farmers. Niqo Robotics’ technology leverages real-time AI assisted computer vision to selectively spray chemicals on plants resulting in savings in chemical and water use.