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ICAR-CCARI & Goa University design drone-based 'Fly-Cocobot' to ease coconut harvesting!

Fly-Cocobot is a remote-controlled drone which averts the life threatening risks involved in traditional coconut harvesting procedures.

The ICAR-Central Coastal Agricultural Research Institute and the Goa University, have jointly designed 'Fly-Cocobot', to ease the task of coconut harvesting. Conferred with national recognition, this state-of-the-art technology is a simple, innovative and cost-effective product that will change the landscape of coastal agriculture practices. The Fly-Cocobot is a remote-controlled, unarmed and gender-neutral device that hovers around coconut palms and reaps the fruit easily, relieving the ordeal of climbing up the tall tree barks.

Fly-Cocobot: Sustainable, diverse, unique & cost-effective

The long years of collaboration between the ICAR-CCARI and Goa Univerisity, have finally proferred a product that is an exemplary specimen of agriculture technology. The Fly-Cocobot is a unique and sustainable tool, that has proven its excellence in harvesting the yield of mixed coconut and black pepper plantations, exceeding any manned or unmanned device in use presently.

The availability of this device will encourage various farmers to indulge in the combination plantation system of the two crops. Padelis (traditional coconut harvesters) usually avoid the dual cropping system due to the difficulty in climbing the coconut palms.

The prototype design of this device could be even matured to collect the fruit of other palms such as areca nut, palmyra palm, oil palm and even date palm. The model design can also be modified accordingly for executing basic farm operation like spraying and pruning among others.

A national-level 'Kritagya Agtech Hackathon' was launched by ICAR's National Agriculture Higher Education Project in 2021 to promote farm mechanism. The Flying-Cocobot was introduced here as well and fighting through 784 teams across the country, the prototype design cleared zonal level among 89 teams and the national level among 25 teams.

The device bagged first place in novelty, innovation, concept, cost-effectiveness and practical feasibility. The Goa Team, consisting of ICAR-CCARI principal scientist (horticulture) Adavi Rao Desai and students, Abhiraj Pednekar and Arman Shaikh were awarded a certificate and prize money of ₹5 lakh in a national virtual event on May 31, for the drone design.

The working mechanism of the Fly-Cocobot

The Fly-Cocobot is a simple tool that engineers simple machines harmoniously to create a spectacular tool. The ICAR-CCARI states that the functional beauty of the device allows to it fly to the top of the palm and get attached to the trunk by means of grabbing arms. Another set of the arm then opens up for cutting the bunch of yields as programmed via the video display on the screen of the remote control.

The entire procedure can be carried out from a safe distance from the active site, which circumvents loss of life. The machine has been designed to work at an operational efficiency of 12-15 palms/hour. What distinguishes the tool is its gender-neutral scope i.e., it can be used by anyone and everyone, opening a plethora of opportunities for all.

The CCARI and Goa University will collectively file an application to seek a patent for the novel design of the Fly-cocobot for protecting IPRs. This equipment will surely concoct relief for palm growers in the near future.

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