Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has inaugurated a state-of-art centre for drone research on the campus. The initiative has secured a seed funding of ₹100.38 lakhs from alumni of the 1994 batch on the occasion of their Silver Jubilee Reunion. This centre is envisaged to evolve as a unique facility at the national level where frontier research would be conducted on several aspects of drone technology, including drone development, drone applications, and anti-drone technology.
Dr V K Saraswat, the Chief Guest and Member, NITI Aayog, said “The drone segment has witnessed a surge in demand by leaps and bounds and is currently being harnessed by 50-60 academic institutions for developing a variety of applications. The growth of this segment aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.” He also stressed the significance of indigenisation in the design process of drones and the need for business models to make them commercially viable.
Future drone hub
In his video address, Dr R K Tyagi, IIT Roorkee’s alumnus and former Chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics, said: “I congratulate and appreciate batch 1994 for contributing ₹1 crore for the campus of drone research. We are grateful. The starting of drone research is timely. The year 2020 has been disruptive and drone technology in the last year has impacted every area of activity like a transport, medical, pipeline, agriculture, and defence. In fact, next to the internet and GPS, drone and anti-drone technology are making a transformative impact on mankind. India will become a drone hub by 2030 and drones and anti-drone will define the core combat capabilities of tomorrow.”
BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Roorkee, said: “Sincere thanks to the 1994 alumni for his noble gesture. The drone market is pegged at 128 billion and has around 38 different areas of application. Hence there is a huge opportunity in this segment, especially in the healthcare and social impact domains.” He also emphasised the need to promote entrepreneurship and incubation of ground-breaking ideas in the drone segment.
Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, said: “The idea of the drone research centre took shape in 2019 on the initiative of the 1994 batch alumni. We intend to scale up the initiative and tap more avenues to foster cutting-edge research and innovation in this direction. We also propose a Coordination Committee comprising of a few alumni of the 1994 batch and the IIT Roorkee management to meet annually and work with a shared vision in this segment.”
It was inaugurated at a virtual ceremony that witnessed the presence of Dr V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog and former Director-General, DRDO, as the Chief Guest; Dr R K Tyagi, a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Roorkee, and Former Chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Pawan Hans Limited; BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Directors, IIT Roorkee; Prof Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee; Prof Manoranjan Parida, Deputy Director, IIT Roorkee; Mr Amit Sinha, IIT Roorkee alumnus; Prof Manish Shrikhande, Dean, Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy; Prof B R Gurjar, Dean of Resources and Alumni Affairs; Prof Dharmendra Singh, Department of Electronics and Communication; and Prof R D Garg, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Roorkee. The ceremony concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Prof Manoranjan Parida, Deputy Director, IIT Roorkee.