GUWAHATI: Union minister of state for civil aviation, Gen (retd) VK Singh, on Tuesday launched India’s first centre for excellence in research on drone and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and artificial intelligence along with a skill development centre for drone operation and maintenance at the IIT Guwahati.
Another nodal centre for the overall administrative drone data management for the northeastern region and AXOMDroneport, a designated place to station drones, which will be used to support cargo drones delivering urgent, medical and emergency supplies and precious supplies to remote areas of the northeast, was also inaugurated by the minister.
“Having understood the remarkable potential of drones to transform every sector of the economy, the government introduced the New Drone Rules in August 2021 and followed it up with a Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) Scheme for manufacturers. Our focus is to develop India’s capabilities as an important and integral value multiplier to the global drone ecosystem,” said Singh.
He said drones can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas. “It’s encouraging to see the IITs of our country taking some timely initiatives in this direction. I pay my regards to the people who are driving the growth of drones in India,” Singh added.
IIT Guwahati director, TG Sitharam, said utilizing the salient features, which drone-assisted technology offers, the remote and difficult terrains of the entire northeastern region can be brought within reach during an emergency. “IIT Guwahati will share its research expertise, impart skill development, set-up a droneport and provide all administrative support and fulfil the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji to realize the potential of India to be a global drone hub by 2030,” said Sitharam.
Highlighting FICCI’s initiatives to further augment the development of drone technology in the country, Dipankar Barua, chairman of FICCI Assam State Council said northeast needs drone technology, especially in areas like border security, agriculture, health, tourism, mining and infrastructure.
The IIT Guwahati Centre for Excellence for Drones/UAV and Artificial Intelligence addresses a broad spectrum of technical and social concerns related to the technology. An IIT Guwahati release said it has been established with the vision to design and develop the most advanced indigenous drones for solving the northeast region’s most persistent problems and contributing to the nation’s technological achievements.
“Along with the technology incubation hub where research on underwater drones is also being carried out, this centre will utilize the diverse expertise available across the institute to provide thrust in the development of drones/UAVs, software platforms, data collation and analysis as well as creating a broad application base,” it said.
“The centre will also assist innovators and start-ups in their research and development activities and work on the ideation and implementation of drone policies and regulations. “The testing and due certification of drones will also be one of the organization’s focus areas. Already two drone-based start-ups are setting up their labs at IIT Guwahati Research Park,” it informed.




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