Green Robot Machinery Pvt Ltd (GRoboMac), a Bengaluru-based farm robotics start-up, plans to pilot its battery-operated cotton picking robot named Pragati in Tamil Nadu around June-July for harvesting the summer crop.
“We plan to deploy the four-arm version robot as a pilot on a 12-acre plot in Tamil Nadu,” said Manohar Sambandam, Founding Partner and CEO, Green Robot Machinery Pvt Ltd. GRoboMac is also eyeing the commercialisation of Pragati in the forthcoming kharif harvest season by October, Sambandam said.
The robot uses 3D vision artificial intelligence and has robotic arms custom built for the cotton crop. The company is yet to finalise the pricing for the machine that is being targeted at cotton growers with land holdings of five hectares and above.
The lithium-ion battery operated robot can pick about 50 kgs over 10-hour period per day from plants that are as high as 5.5 feet. “It will be viable for farmers with five hectares and above, who can recover the cost of the machine over three seasons,” he said.
GRoboMac, which has been working on developing the cotton picking machine since 2014-15, is also exploring addition of spraying capability to the robot, so that it can be used to carry out spraying of pesticides, weedicides and foliar nutrition, he said.
Recently, GRoboMac has delivered its first unit of Pragati cotton picking robot to the National Agriculture Higher Education Project Centre of Advanced Agricultural Science & Technology (NAHEP CAAST) centre of Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth at Parbhani, Maharashtra.
This two-arm cotton picking machine will be used by NAHEP CAAST for development of additional features and research at their centre and for pilot deployment of these machines in the cotton belt of Maharashtra.
“We are glad to be associated with NAHEP, Parbhani in their effort to promote Robotics and Drone-based agriculture mechanisation,” Sambandam said. Also, the company is in talks with Karnataka and Telangana for pilots of these machines.