Indian robot cotton picker

Having bought a piece of land, Manohar Sambandham decided to grow a culture on it, which is not very demanding for irrigation and needs good lighting – cotton. For India, country with an abundance of sunlight, this is an excellent solution (is actual for Ukraine too). In addition, the price of such a product is much more attractive than the rice, which is usually grown in the region. However, there is a problem with cotton – it's not very easy to compile such a crop.

In fact, the process of collecting cotton either must be done manually, or special equipment is used, which is simply too expensive for small farms. For example, «monster machine» John Deere 7760. This giant is designed to handle large areas and is not suitable for small farms with manual planting and Indian varieties of cotton.

The local climate is perfect for growing cotton and many farms do it. But in order to simplify and reduce the cost of its collection, even the labor of children is often used, because at the harvesting time there is an acute shortage of labor.

A conventional cotton picker tractor is not suitable in India

Prototype of the robot cotton picker

If the ripened cotton is not removed on time, the rain can simply destroy the crop. To solve this problem M. Sambandam decided to develop a machine for picking cotton, suitable for small farms.

The idea was to combine a visual search system for flowering cotton and a means of collecting it – a kind of vacuum cleaner. According to the idea of ​​the author, such an aggregate will move along the rows of the cotton plantations, visually evaluating each bush. Due to the compact size, the machine can work on small field with manual seeding, but it will work several times faster than a person.

To reduce costs and simplify maintenance, some of the actions will have to be done by people. Operators of this unit need to control the movement of the machine and unload the already assembled cotton. In addition to harvesting, the machine must perform seeding, weeding, pruning branches to increase crop yields and precision spraying of fertilizers or plant protection products. At the moment (2018) this robot harvester is in a state of development. The startup expects to receive about 1 million rupees from the state and the company Villgro. Considering the large number of small farms, in India such a cotton cleaning robot will be very in demand.

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