THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A startup launched by three engineers is infusing momentum into drone development. Their firm AiDrone Pvt Ltd has scaled new heights with an agreement with Cyberdome, the technological research and development centre of Kerala Police, on developing drones.
It started with the development of drones for coastal security surveillance. “At first our focus was on developing drones for coastal security surveillance. Later, the floods came. It was then, the importance and possibilities of using drones for disaster management struck us,” recalls Ani Sam Varghese, one of the co-founders of AiDrone. Their venture recently inked an MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Cyberdome for the development of drones.
The startup was founded by Ani along with his college mates Joji John Varghese and Nibin Peter. The trio belonged to different streams while studying at Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, with Nipin being their junior. They met during competitions and their common interests saw them working on drones and launching the startup. The firm delves in creating drones in the small to medium category. With their technology, a drone carrying a payload weighing 10 kgs can be airborne for 22 minutes.
The speed of the drone achieved is 60 kmph (air distance). “The deal with drones is that they give you a 3D sense. There is no limitation. All our modes are entirely restricted by terrain. Drones have no such terrain limitation. We can deploy them during any disaster. The larger aim is to ensure that the drones are used across Kerala for effective disaster management purposes,” says Ani.
The company received funding from Kerala Start-Up Mission in January and the group registered the company in October 2018. The drone technology has been developed in such a manner that payload can be changed easily, thereby switching between various applications.
The focus is on surveillance, LED lighting to light up areas, fire fighting system, and deploying of lifebuoys. “Hardware and software has been integrated in such a manner that it is easy to switch payloads as per need,” says Ani.
According to him, the eco-system currently prevalent in the country is not that conducive for the growth of drone technology. “When we started out it was very difficult to get the components. In India, drones are used widely in photography. This is a market with huge potential which remains untapped here. Drones find immense application in a wide range of fields. In fact, not enough is being done to explore all these aspects,” says Ani, who is currently studying MBA at CET School of Management.