IIT-Bombay will soon organise a robotics competition. The aim of project e-Yantra,sponsored by the ministry of HRD under National Mission for ICT in Education,is to encourage engineering students across the country to create robots for covered agriculture,which will include seeding,weeding,fertilising and harvesting.
Covered cultivation (greenhouses) can double or triple yield of vegetables. Many processes in strawberry cultivation abroad,including harvesting of ripe fruit,are automated. This technology is at the innovation stage in developing countries, said Kavi Arya,project coordinator.
Each group of students will programme an existing robotic platform to address each of these aspects during a 12-week period.
The project is an outcome of teaching the embedded systems course at IIT-Bombay.
Institute authorities said a key component of the course was project-based learning,where students solve abstractions of real problems using robots and acquire practical engineering skills.
In a growing economy,cheap skilled labour is a myth. Transporting vegetables long distances amid rising cost of diesel is increasing prices. The time is ripe for automation and robotic workers. If we can grow vegetables locally using automation,it will help bring cheaper and fresh produce to your kitchen, Arya said.