Kaustubh Dhonde grew up around farmers and saw the problems they faced. Even as a child, he wondered why his relatives sold their tractors.
He later discovered that finding a driver for the tractor was tough, maintenance costs were high, and driving a tractor also led 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,” informs Kaustubh.
To solve this problem, this 27-year-old electronics engineer decided to develop an autonomous electric tractor. In 2016, he founded AutoNxt Automation, 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.
Through the company’s app, the farmer can track the tractor live and get all the details without being on the farm.
The tractor can help farmers with ploughing, tilling, disking and spraying insecticide. Kaustubh says that it carries heavy loads with one-fourth the expense compared to its diesel counterparts.
Through their in-house-developed software app, the farmer/owner can inform the tractor what crop it’s ploughing on a given day, and the tractor will commence operations accordingly.
“There is no need to be on the tractor or closely monitor it. Through the app, the tractor will tell you if there are any challenges it can’t deal with. This is the first time anyone in India has built such a tractor,” he claims.
The mode of communication between the owner and the tractor is through your normal wifi network.
So far, AutoNxt has raised a seed round of Rs 6.4 crore. The company has plans to manufacture driverless EV tractors one year from now, and has done test runs as well, according to a BQprime report.