India’s drone industry is fastest growing industry in the world: Kota Harinarayana

BENGALURU: India’s drone industry is the fastest growing industry in the world with the second highest in the number of start-ups in the agritech sector, according to Kota Harinarayana, chairman of board of governors at IIT, Varanasi.

Harinarayana, who is credited with developing India’s first home-grown light combat aircraft, said the use of drones and robotics is becoming beneficial for even small farmers with two acres of land holdings as the technology helps in capturing images as close as one to two metres of the land where troubleshooting is required.

He was engaged in a discussion with IIIT-B director S. Sadagopan at a virtual session at the Bangalore Tech Summit 2020, on Thursday.

Satellite images, he said, were inaccurate in detecting the problems that exist on farm lands which is now easily identifiable with the use of drones and robotics. He said the use of drones has become an opportunity in agriculture given that its contribution to India’s GDP has declined to 15% to 17% two years ago. Drones could be used in precision agriculture and help in doubling production.

Satellite images cannot be used to study crops and drones have thus emerged as a low-cost and a cost-effective solution. Drones are turning out to be even cheaper than deploying manpower for the purpose, Harinarayana said.

Drones, he said, have emerged as the driving force in data analytics in India. However, he said the drone endurance remains low at about one hour after seeing an improvement from the 40 minutes that it was earlier. Several industries that make cameras for the drones for surveillance have cropped up in Bengaluru.

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He said locusts were thrown away or eliminated with the use of drones in Rajasthan recently. Drones were used to spray insecticides and five such machines were pressed into service to drive away the locusts and help the farmers.

Drones could be used in medical emergencies like organ transplants that will save precious lives and time. Trials are on to use drones with the ‘108’ ambulance teams. However, fund constraints are awaited to carry out application of drones in medical emergencies, he said.



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