Kochi: Kochi-based Nava Design and Innovation has developed a robot that can tap toddy and neera (a sweet, non-alcoholic sap) from the coconut tree.
The company, which is based at the Kalamassery Integrated Startup Complex, received capital investment from Hykon CMD Christo George and NRI businessman Manoj V Raman for the project. The funds will be utilised to produce the robot on a commercial basis.
The robot will not climb all the way to the top of the tree by itself but someone must carry and set it against the coconut tree’s inflorescence at least once. After this is done, the robot will take over the task of maturing the inflorescence, tapping the toddy, and transferring it to the ground through a tube.
Charles Vijay of Nava Design and Innovation said it took six years of research and development to design the robot with sensors into a workable model.
Apart from Kerala, the robot has a huge demand in other countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka where toddy is produced. The system employs both robotics and artificial intelligence for the functioning.