CHENNAI: At least eight companies have expressed interest to Anna University to manufacture unmanned aerial systems, which have been developed by Madras Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Centre for Aerospace Research (CASR).Director of CASR, K Senthil Kumar said that for the first time the centre had invited companies having interest in manufacturing and marketing of unmanned aerial systems designed and developed by it. The notification inviting expression of interest from companies was issued by Anna University in March.
“At least eight companies, including some startups, have expressed interest for manufacturing drones based on our technology. We are in the process of examining the applications and shortlisting the companies,” said Kumar. CASR has developed drones which are now being used by Tamil Nadu and Kerala police. The centre now aims to supply drones to Indian Armed Forces also. Kumar said the Centre has given a presentation of its drones to Indian Army and is participating in a drone competition named Mehar Baba Challenge organised by Indian Air Force.
He said that Indian Air Force has announced a UAV Swarm Drone Challenge event called Mehar Baba challenge leading to co-production with Indian Military Base Repair Depot. He said CASR is in the semi-finals of the competition and is looking for joint venture partners with manufacturing companies with whose funding CASR will be able to take part in the forthcoming stages of the contest.
“In the Mehar Baba challenge, we need to fly at least 50 swarm drones. So far, we have done well in the competition and if we win it then our drones will be used by the defence forces also,” he said. The CASR will provide technology to the companies and it will charge royalty in return. The royalty earned will be spent on strengthening research work. He further said there is no proper company in the country that manufactures unmanned aerial systems or unmanned aerial vehicles. Most companies procure components from abroad and only do the integration of UAVs in India.