As a child, Kaustubh Dhonde saw farming from close quarters. His grandparents and relatives were farmers, and he was acutely aware of the problems they faced in the profession.
When his relatives began selling their tractors due to high costs, Kaustabh decided to find out why.
What he discovered was that operational expenses involved in maintaining a tractor were very high. Finding a driver was also very tough, and driving the vehicle on one’s own could lead to health issues.
“Anyone who drives a tractor continuously for several hours can only sustain this activity for a maximum of five years before spinal injuries start to take shape. Moreover, as a driver, you have to regularly turn back and check the implement, whether it’s going down properly or something is stuck. As a result, people of our generation are no longer interested in driving a tractor full-time or working in the field given the availability of less physically-taxing jobs. This makes it very difficult to find skilled labour to drive these conventional tractors,” says Kaustubh.
To solve this problem, this 27-year-old electronics engineer decided to develop an autonomous electric tractor. In 2016, he founded AutoNxt Automation, which is an electric mobility startup.
This tractor does not require petrol or diesel and has lower maintenance and tilling costs. It comes with a driverless feature and through the company’s app, the farmer can track the tractor live and get all the details, without being on the farm. The tractor will help farmers with ploughing, tilling, disking and spraying insecticide.
Kaustubh says that it carries heavy loads with 1/4 the expense compared to its diesel counterparts.
So far, AutoNxt has raised a seed round of Rs 6.4 crore. They are in talks for their Pre Series-A round of funding, post which they will go for pilot production.
Learn more about this tractor here:
Edited by Divya Sethu
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