After several months of uncertainty, it is finally legal to fly drones in India, albeit following certain caveats as put forth by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation. However, companies in India have been experimenting with drone technology and its myriad uses in commercial sectors & defence atleast since the beginning of this decade.
One such company is Aerologiks, a Bangalore-based drone & data analytics organisation providing end-to-end solutions for drone applications, and consequently doing away with third parties for actionable results. In addition to being India’s first company working on a complete hardware & software stack, the company also provides data analytics, AI & ML. The cofounders Parul Aghi & Rohan Dalmia believe that data solutions provided by autonomous devices are the future, with solutions ranging from anti-terrorism to agriculture.
Moving beyond the existing scope of aerial vehicles, whose growth in India has been limited due to lack of regulatory clarity, Parul & Rohan have devised a new product called Swayam. This product moves beyond autonomous air vehicles and ventures “below the earth’s surface”
Says Rohan, “With Swayam, we aim to build technology, and not just a product. It is the core of every navigation algorithm of any autonomous vehicle, be it aerial, ground or water.”
Swayam has the ability to “see, understand and decide where to go, how to go and which path to take with all this happening in realtime to ensure swift movement.” It works in both indoor and outdoor areas, with/without GPS, and for static as well as dynamic obstacles. It uses millions of data points from LIDAR, on-board sensors and camera to be able to methodically make decisions with nearly zero errors.
The applications of this technology are multifarious – underground mining, warehouse management, autonomous parking, underground construction, autonomous vehicles for agriculture in areas of seeding, spraying, harvesting, weeding, to name a few. The transition though, is a natural one using the technologies developed and refined for aerial vehicles over the last 2 years and upgrading them for use on AGV (Autonomous Ground Vehicles) applications. The limitation of aerial vehicles is in its dependence on GPS signal, without which it is difficult for it to navigate accurately. Having done multiple projects in mapping, agriculture, renewable energy sector, we realized there is a huge market-product gap in the indoor use cases.
Currently, the team is working with a major Indian mining company for applications in underground mining. The problem statement is to generate a scrupulous 3D map of the mine including its terrain mapping and crack inspection without putting a worker’s life in danger.
“With no competitive product in the market yet, we hope to capture a major market share in the coming 6-8 months,” adds Rohan.
Aerologiks first started out as a drone developer, and the cofounders are cognisant of expanding their product suite to cater to growing market needs. “Certainly, as a startup its prudent to invent technologies that have applicability across atleast two verticals and three horizontals, giving a 83% probability of succeeding in at-least one endeavour,” explains Rohan.
The “Smart-Autonomous-All terrain navigation” tech is being built with a similar line of thought. The application can be applied to ground and underwater vehicles, for underground activities including mining, indoor navigation such as autonomous wheelchairs at airports and other public spaces) as well as outdoor smart navigation.
Since “Swayam” involves concepts and fundamentals which we are the backbone of all future AGV variants, the team decided to do the complete hardware designing, simulation, manufacturing and testing in-house. They procured on-board sensors, Lidar and cameras off the shelf and built algorithms around them to ensure inter-operability with high efficacy and computation speed. It took them more than six months with three design innovations to finally zero in on a working prototype. The product version is expected to be ready in the three months.
Here’s a working sample of the product:
“With regulations finally in place, the growth in drone space cannot be contained any more, although innovations across new verticals of potential use-cases is a must to beat the competition both nationally and internationally. In 2020, with the full stack solution already deployed, we aim to penetrate further in the industries with applications around smart autonomous aerial and ground vehicles. We plan to release three products in the market solving sector specific requirements built around the technology being tested and refined currently.”
You can read about Aerologiks’ other innovations here.
Aerologiks was one of the incubated startups at NASSCOM CoE IoT Bangalore.
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