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Placing drones at the center of a technological transformation of Indian agriculture, with the support of emerging business models such as digital finance, precision agriculture and rapid outreach, can increase GDP by 1% to 1.5 % and create at least 5,000,000 jobs in the coming years in India, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum, Using technology to improve the livelihoods of a billion people.
The report, which was authored by the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, India, in collaboration with the Adani Group, was launched today in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Aviation is arguably one of the most regulated industries in the world. India’s bold and measured approach to boosting unmanned aviation has been celebrated by a wide range of stakeholders. To make the most of this regulatory landscape, drones must be part of the basic repertoire of agricultural equipment alongside tractors, cultivators, plows, excavators and combines to fortify our operations,” said Vignesh Santhanam, Project Manager, Aerospace and Drones, India, World Economic Forum.
“The cross-industry application of drones is nearly limitless and continues to make great strides. It offers countries like ours the opportunity to leapfrog generations of advancements in infrastructure, healthcare, logistics, agriculture and defense and break down multiple process barriers. When combined with next-generation imaging technologies, edge-based artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities, the possibilities are endless. We We have always believed that the most significant revolutions occur at the intersection of various fields – between military and civilian, between drones and AI and between physical and digital.India has taken the lead in establishing several policies geared towards the future under the leadership of the Prime Minister to make India the global drone hub by 2030,” said Ashish Rajvanshi, CEO, Adani Defense & Aerospace; President, Strategy and Office of the President, Adani Group.
Powerful use cases for drones, merging aerospace, AI and digital finance
Different studies have highlighted the immense potential for improving agricultural outcomes for farms through precision farming expertise and advice that can lead to a 15% increase in productivity in India’s $600 billion agricultural sector. of dollars. Drones can play a critical role in unlocking this value as they provide an efficient way to collect data and apply inputs, which directly impacts yields and farmer incomes. The scaling up of drones in the agricultural sector will also boost agricultural mechanization and bring India closer to its global peers.
Coordinated research between civil and defense technologies
The report also examines how civil-military convergence can accelerate research for the benefit of civil society applications. The report highlights different use cases of drones in agriculture, such as crop monitoring, data collection for advisory purposes, and application of agricultural inputs.
“Drones are poised to be the catalyst for different use cases that take advantage of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. The need is to create a business model that drives rapid adoption and active use of drones at the farm level. This is only possible if the strengths of different ecosystem stakeholders are harnessed and a unit-level value proposition is created for farmers,” said Abhay Pareek, Project Manager, Fourth Industrial Revolution for Agriculture, World Economic Forum, India.
Robust local supply chain and support system
Furthermore, considering the nascent state of the drone industry and the heavy reliance on imports of various key components, there is a need to establish a strong local support system, including a chain of “Made in India” procurement, targeted skills development programs, next-generation digital technologies. funding mechanisms and strong awareness programs in farmer organizations, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK), farmers and policy makers. The report highlights that a set of well-orchestrated interventions can add nearly $100 billion to GDP and help India overcome multiple challenges in the agricultural sector through the use of technology.
The need for a “microcosm of drones” while integrating
The integration of drones into the agricultural sector should be facilitated by the creation of a “green microcosm” where an integrated “drone-centric rural hub” is established and stabilized through crop cycles. The microcosm would be a controlled environment that would test various use cases relevant to agriculture as well as other rural applications.
Further, considering the complexity of Indian agricultural system including different agro-climatic zones, range of crop varieties, desperate use of irrigation technologies, etc., the integration of drones in Indian agriculture can be achieved with the drone form factor and a mission-based approach in partnership and ownership. stakeholders
“Drone costs are dropping dramatically locally. There are multiple use cases on the same drone that can be achieved with a quick change of payloads – from spraying to broadcasting to logistics. Creating local hubs where these apps can be deployed at scale can establish the business case and help players scale quickly,” said Rangarajan Vijayaraghavan, Vice President Strategy and Office of the President, Adani Group.