WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Purdue University students have been working to create a utility vehicle for African farmers.
The project started back in 2008 when students recognized a need.
Over the years, it changed from a student project to a small startup business known as Mobile Agriculture Power Solutions, or MAPS for short. This has allowed students to take the knowledge they gained from the classroom and apply it to a real world situation.
Students created an ag-rover, which is a multi-purpose vehicle to help farmers in Africa.
“This vehicle is actually pretty dynamic. What we’ve done with it is we have a product that’s able to move product, move farm product to where it needs to go,” said Bunmi Babajide, the business development manager of MAPS .
Throughout this process students have been able to put classroom knowledge to work.
“It’s been surreal for me,” Babajide said. “It’s really putting a lot of the things I’ve learned in the past… It’s putting things I’ve learned in the classroom to good use.”
The last few years have been a process of trial and error for the students.
“The students really get a great experience,” explained John Lumkes, an associate professor at the School of Agriculture and Biological Engineering. “They’re working on a real project with real partners with real needs on the ground, and saying, ‘Can you do this? Can we work together and get this done?’ We go there and we build it and test it so we spend about three weeks each year in the countries.”
Within the next week, students will deliver the first vehicle to a customer in Nigeria. They hope to scale up their business in that market in the near future. An online campaign has been created to help the students with funding.