“Drone technology has the potential to transform agriculture in India”

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder & CEO, Garuda Aerospace shares his insights on the company's operations, latest trends and regulatory scenario

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Hailing from Chennai, India, Agnishwar Jayaprakash is the Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, India's largest drone start-up and an entrepreneur who has been making rapid strides in the Global Changemakers Community.
Garuda Aerospace is India’s leading Drone tech start-up focused on disrupting two major multi-billion-dollar sectors, Precision Agri Tech and Industry 4.0 upgradation. Founded in 2015, Garuda aims to be the 1st drone unicorn start-up by 2023 end. Garuda has its manufacturing facility in Chennai and Haryana and aims to sell 25,000 drones in the next 18 months, with exporting 10,000 drones to around 100 countries in the next 15 months.
In this interaction, Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder & CEO, Garuda Aerospace shares insights on how drone technologies are bettering agriculture applications besides his company’s role in minimizing environmental impact of chemical spraying.

BV LogoWhat role can drone technologies play to revolutionize the agriculture in India? Impact and challenges?
Drone technologies can revolutionize the agriculture scenario in India in many ways. Drones can be used for crop monitoring, mapping, and analysis, allowing farmers to optimize their farming practices and increase crop yields. Drones can also be used for precision agriculture, delivering pesticides and fertilizers to specific areas of crops, reducing the use of chemicals and minimizing the impact on the environment. However, the adoption of drone technology in agriculture faces several challenges, including regulatory restrictions, high costs, and limited awareness among farmers. Nevertheless, with appropriate policies and incentives, drone technology has the potential to transform agriculture in India, making it more efficient, sustainable, and profitable.
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What are the key technological trends (better features, improved range, use of digital etc) within the drone space in India?
The drone industry in India is experiencing rapid technological advancements in several areas. One key trend is the development of better features, including improved sensors, cameras, and navigation systems, which enable drones to collect more accurate data and operate in challenging environments. Another trend is the expansion of the drone’s range and flight time, enabled by the use of advanced batteries and propulsion systems. Additionally, using digital technologies such as AI and machine learning helps improve the capabilities of drones for various applications, including mapping, monitoring, and delivery. Overall, these technological trends are helping to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of drones in India, making them more valuable tools for various industries, including agriculture, infrastructure, and logistics.
“Garuda Aerospace drones are leveraging the improvement of spraying chemicals and other agricultural applications”
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How is your organization leveraging drones for improving the spraying of chemicals and other Agri applications?
Garuda Aerospace drones are leveraging the improvement of spraying chemicals and other agricultural applications by providing farmers with precise information on crop health and nutrient levels, monitoring crop growth, detecting pests and diseases, mapping fields, and spraying chemicals and fertilisers more efficiently and precisely. Garuda Aerospace drones are equipped with advanced sensors and imaging technology that can quickly identify areas of the field that require treatment with minimizing environmental impact.
Furthermore, the drone’s rotors generate downward air currents, which disperse the chemicals in a controlled manner, reducing the amount of chemical waste and minimizing exposure to humans and wildlife. The use of drones for spraying chemicals and other agricultural applications is a promising technology that can reduce the environmental impact of traditional agriculture while increasing efficiency and productivity.
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Has the policy and regulatory framework in India evolved enough for fast tracking the adoption of drone interventions in agriculture? What is the current status and way forward?
India has introduced several schemes to support the adoption of drone technology in agriculture. One such scheme is the Agri Drone Loans, which provides financial assistance to farmers and startups to purchase drones for agricultural purposes. Additionally, the government has launched the Drone Subsidy scheme to promote the use of drones in various sectors, including agriculture. The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme is another initiative that aims to boost the manufacturing sector and make India a global manufacturing hub. The scheme provides financial incentives to companies that manufacture drones in India, leading to the creation of new jobs and boosting the overall economy.
A most important incentive, Service Linked Incentive (SLI) should be promoted for the development and to receive major nitro boost propulsion for the SLI schemes. The budget should include more subsidies for drone pilots for their training and skilling programmes, government collaboration, and involvement. The industry budget should be used for drone applications in fields like transportation, logistics, defence, mining and infrastructure along with providing jobs. Overall, these schemes are critical to promoting the widespread adoption of drone technology in agriculture and other sectors in India. They provide financial support to farmers and startups, promote the development of the manufacturing sector, and create new job opportunities.

*This interview was first published in the May 2023 edition of the BioVoice eMagazine.