By Jaisimha Rao
With Dall-E and ChatGPT capturing our collective imagination, application of Artificial Intelligence is touted as the next big leap in the evolution of civilization beyond human capability. On a more pragmatic level, it is game changer for businesses. Businesses are now presented with this golden ticket to reinvent themselves and do more with less. Early adopters are using AI-backed analytics and data in manufacturing to decrease unexpected downtime, improve productivity, products quality and utility. Accredited studies on AI predict that global economy stands to benefit up to a $15.7 trillion boost by 2030 from AI. Within this the global artificial intelligence robots market size is expected to be worth around USD 54.3 billion by 2030.
Whether one is consumed or cautious about AI making a mainstream splash, it is critical for professionals, business leaders and innovators to comprehend its potential and implications to stay surefooted in this transition. As a founder of a robotics business which leverages AI to bring in more precision and accuracy in the way we grow food globally, I firmly fall in the former category of people consumed by AI and the benefits it can unlock.
The ultimate benefit of AI will be using it to create sustainable and scalable solutions in sectors that are crying out for a tech revolution. One such sector is agriculture. In emerging countries like India, tech in agriculture has not moved beyond mechanization with tractors, harvesters, and other large agri-machinery. While is more developed markets these machines have gotten swankier it still continues to be largely stuck in a “man versus machine” phase. Agriculture globally is ripe to go from mechanical automation to an AI powered robotic automation.
What exactly are AI powered agricultural robots? Let me demystify this. All robots, fundamentally do 3 things- they sense an input, compute the algorithm, and process the output. In other words, robots have eyes to see, brains to process and hands to act. There are broadly two schools of thought when it comes to AgRobots- Autonomy and Automation. Autonomy focuses on eliminating any human intervention with applications in large farms such as fully autonomous tractors. Automation breaks down labour intensive tasks into smaller tasks that can be automated for speed and efficiency to solve for looming labour challenges, which farmers face throughout growing season. Leveraging real time AI assisted computer vision can help perform farming tasks like seeding, spraying, weeding, and harvesting with great accuracy and precision catapulting efficiency and productivity.
A valuable used case of AI robots in agriculture that is globally taking the Agritech industry by storm is spot spraying. Equipped with cutting edge computer vision, AI spot spray robots can selectively spray chemicals only on the plant without wastefully spraying on the soil. This level of accuracy and precision in spraying can save up a drastically reduce chemical input cost for farmers and limit the environmental impact of excessive spraying on soil which ultimately pollutes soil, ground water and compromises food safety. This is a win for the entire farming ecosystem.
AI’s groundbreaking innovations have empowered robots with increasingly powerful computing capabilities, allowing small-scale models to operate on reliable and portable robots. With smarter software and affordable hardware, this winning combination is driving the scalability of Agritech and ushering in a future where food is grown smartly and sustainably.
The author is founder and CEO, Niqo Robotics