HYDERABAD, July 4 : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today launched latest, first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art “Autonomous Navigation” facility to develop “unmanned driverless” ground and aerial vehicles, in the IIT Hyderabad campus.
The Minister also interacted with Startups developing “unmanned” ground motor vehicles like driverless self-driven motor cars, driverless self-driven bicycles etc., as well as “unmanned’ aerial vehicles including drones in different shapes and sizes.
Funded by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology at a budget of Rs.130 crore, the “Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation”, inaugurated today by Dr Jitendra Singh, is a multidisciplinary initiative, which will make India a global player in the futuristic and next generation “Smart Mobility” technology.
Dr Jitendra Singh keenly listened to the experience of the young Startups, engaged in unmanned vehicle navigation projects and suggested that they should be linked with industry for further sustenance and growth.
The Minister also appreciated that IIT Hyderabad has established a new Post Graduation course of M.Tech in “Smart Mobility”, which is the first-of-its-kind in India. He said, he was glad to know that the Ministry of Science & Technology has played a role in promoting this visionary and futuristic initiative in India, which is going to be of global relevance in the years to come.
The Minister said, the vision of TiHAN-IITH, is to become a global player for next generation smart mobility technologies and the Ministry of Science & Technology has come forward to support this initiative, which will be a trendsetter for others as well.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that limited testbeds or proving grounds exist worldwide to investigate the operation of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by simulating various scenarios that may occur in real-life traffic operations, ranging from frequently occurring to extreme cases. A few examples include Millbrook Proving Grounds in the UK, M-City in the USA, CETRAN in Singapore, K-City in South Korea, JARI in Japan, etc.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that TiHAN in collaboration with IIT Hyderabad has established a New Interdisciplinary 2-year M.Tech program on Smart Mobility, which is first of its kind in the country. He also added that TiHAN -IITH is supporting entrepreneurship and skill development activities in this area of autonomous navigations.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India’s mobility sector is one of the world’s largest markets and the TiHAN – IITH will be the source of futuristic technology generation for autonomous vehicles. He also added that the TiHAN-IITH testbed on Autonomous Navigations (Aerial & Terrestrial) will allow us testing the next generation autonomous navigation technologies accurately and allow faster technology development and global market penetration.
Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar informed that the testing facility also includes an airstrip, soft landing area, hangar for keeping drones, a Ground control station (GCS), Telemetry Station for Performance Evaluation. Performance evaluation of Payloads such as LiDAR, radar, camera, etc., is being evaluated. Control transition between manual and autonomous operation, and studies on public acceptance of driverless vehicles. The standard operating procedures for unmanned vehicles, will significantly aid in formulating the regulations and operating policies for different applications in the Indian scenario.
Under this national mission, IIT Hyderabad has been awarded the Technology Innovation Hub in the technological vertical of ‘Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems (UAVs, ROVs. etc.)’. NMICPS Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Foundation (TiHAN) is a multi-disciplinary initiative, including researchers from Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mathematics, Design, Liberal Arts and Entrepreneurship at IIT Hyderabad. TiHAN is recognized as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Dr. B.V.R. Mohan Reddy (Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Hyderabad), and Prof. B.S. Murty (Director, IIT Hyderabad), and senior officers, faculty and students joined today’s event.