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Telangana IT department put fertiliser spraying and weeding on to-do list of robots

Officials in the IT department have advocated the need for robots in farming due to the acute labour shortage and the availability of hi-tech farming practices.

Published: 22nd March 2021 09:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2021 09:09 AM   |  A+A-

Deep learning robots

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Express News Service

HYDERABAD: For the first time since the Information Technology, Electronics and Communications department floated the idea of deploying robots in farming, it has now identified two specific applications for the same - fertiliser spraying and weeding.

The project is a part of the IT department's AI4AI initiative. Officials in the IT department have advocated the need for robots in farming due to the acute labour shortage and the availability of hi-tech farming practices.

Currently, weeding is a time and labour intensive farm operation. "Farmers indiscriminately spray pre-emergence and post-emergence weedicides. Their use is high in commercial crops like cotton and sugarcane. Indiscriminate use of weedicides only increases the cost of cultivation," states a document of the IT department.

With camera-equipped robots, the IT department feels localised spraying in right concentrations and volumes could be possible. "Robots can be used with computer vision technology to detect weeds and then spray a targeted drop of herbicide onto them," the document read.

The robot for the weedicide operation will have 98 per cent accuracy when it comes to positioning, spray one or more acres per hour and have a payload of 75-90 kg. It will be connected both through Bluetooth and WiFi.

As for fertiliser placement, currently, more than 30 per cent of fertilisers go to waste as they don’t fall near the root. “Hand placement of fertilisers at the defined location and soil depth is highly laborious. It is being practised in case of vegetables. In dry land crops like red gram, farmers spend more money for fertiliser applications,” the document said while explaining the reason for introducing robots. 

The robot for fertiliser placement will be used for crops such as red gram and groundnut, as decided by the IT department in collaboration with Agriculture department and Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU). The robot will be able to cover two or more acres per hour, with a minimum speed of 1 metre per second, and will be battery powered

98 per cent accuracy for weedicide operations

The robot for the weedicide operation will have 98 per cent accuracy when it comes to positioning, spray one or more acres per hour and have a payload of 75-90 kg. It will be connected both through Bluetooth and WiFi. The robot for fertiliser placement will be used for crops such as red gram and groundnut



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