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Fighting COVID-19 From The Sky

Robotics, Drones6 min read

Sagar Gupta and Prashant Pillai

Meet Sagar Gupta & Prashant Pillai

Founder and Co-Founder @ Indian Robotics Solution

Delhi, India 

Sagar Gupta Naugriya is the Founder & CEO of the Indian Robotics Solution and Indian Robo Store. He is an Electronics Engineer from ITM universe Gwalior. He has been featured in Forbes recently.

Prashant Pillai is the Co-Founder & CMO of Indian Robotics Solution. He is an Electrical engineer from Anna University. He also has been featured in Forbes.

What inspired you both to pursue a career in robotics?

Sagar Gupta:

‘‘I always had an immense inclination towards robotics which lead me to pursue my engineering in Electronics and Communication from ITM Universe, Gwalior ”.

Even during my bachelor’s days, I was very involved in robotics and electronic gadgets, and from there itself the idea popped-up in my mind to do something where my interests and passion lie.

But that very moment I wanted to have some industry experience to better put forth my own firm. So I started my career with SUKAM, a power solutions provider.

Then eventually by the end of 2015, I founded my own privately own firm with the name of Indian Robo Store which in 2019 we started a private limited company - Indian Robotics Solution.

My friend and colleague, Prashant Pillai who is the co-founder of Indian Robotics Solution, we met in Sukam.

What is the story of Indian Robotics Solution?

Prashant Pillai:

IRS was started with initial funding of Rs 30,000 - Sagar’s savings. Since then, we have been pumping the profits back into the business to help it grow.

The Indian Robotics Solution is a part of Indian Robo Store group and came into existence in 2015 with a mission to solve technological problems through robotic solutions as well as to reduce human effort through continuous innovation, which has immensely contributed its part in providing different weapons to combat corona during this pandemic.

Sagar Gupta:

I recall that the shift from working with students and hobbyists to a drone startup happened in December 2016, when I started selling drone accessories and spare parts.

We also started repairing photographers’ drones, which gave us enough bandwidth to work on specific projects.

Eventually, we started developing UAVs at the technical lab after a prolonged period of testing and failing.

In November 2017, we came up with the first indigenous drone, ‘Alex’.

Initially, we had to work on a marketing push and reached out via multiple organizations like India Mart. Soon, we started getting inbound calls from defense organizations and corporate institutions seeking different services.

From 2018 till date, the startup provided government and military clients with different solutions such as All-Terrain Vehicle with a robotic arm, GSM and GPS tracker, solar circuits, AC duct inspection robot, day surveillance drone, thermal drone for night inspection, payload drone, stringing drone for a transmission line, GIS mapping through drone flight training, open CV/image processing solutions, etc.

What goal in the next 10 years with the drone startup?

Prashant Pillai:

We are a boot-strapped startup and haven’t received any external funding to date. This also means that the three devices we have come up with - to help India combat the pandemic - have been self-funded. But that hasn’t stopped us from spending further on improving these prototypes.

We are already working on integrating an AI-based face recognition system into the CCD and a second, more advanced version, of the TSH, is also underway.

Moving forward, we would be working on robotic solutions such as stealth land rovers and transformable drones, which can traverse all kinds of terrain for Indian intelligence agencies.

We will be integrating an AI-based system and thermal imaging in the CCD soon.

We are already working with the army for the past three years and I am sure we will be able to assist the defense authorities better in the time to come

What Thermal Corona Combat Drone is and how it works?

Sagar Gupta:

Indian Robotics Solution is the first Indian company to develop a ‘Penta-Utility, transformable integrative invention’ drone named THERMAL CORONA COMBAT DRONE-TCCD, which serves the solution for five problems during the COVID-19 outspread, namely sanitization, thermal screening, announcement, medication, and surveillance (day & night)

As it can not only monitor temperature but also has a day vision camera to see real-time images of the personnel, a disinfectant tank to sanitize the area after the suspected person is taken for further tests, a spotlight for night vision, a loudspeaker for giving instructions, and a portable medical box to carry essentials like medicines or COVID-19 testing kits.

It has a flight time of 15 minutes with all the five utilities working together. Without the sanitizing tank, it will fly for about 30 minutes.

We gave a proof of concept to the government authorities at Majnu ka Tilla Basti, Noida Sector 15 slums, and parts of Gurgaon. Once fully functional, we have the capability of screening over 500 individuals in three hours of flight time.

We are in the final stages of perfecting the technology and reducing the deviation under one degree.

How drones can be beneficial in the middle of the pandemic?

Prashant Pillai:

In combating COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Surveillance and Thermal Scanning are playing a major role.

Accordingly, we have further stepped up the support in strengthening ongoing surveillance, sanitization, thermal screening, announcement, medication, and response at every level; cluster containment activities; strengthening real-time data collection activities; and accelerated implementation of our multipurpose drone.

Being a New Delhi based firm we have not restricted ourselves to the particular state as the corona outbreak is a global issue.

In order to break the chain of coronavirus, our Thermal Corona Combat Drone was tested for surveillance, sanitization, thermal screening, and announcement in several affected areas of New Delhi, Noida, Gurgoan and end even Chandigarh and also to spread awareness amongst the people about social distancing, one such demo was carried out in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

How does the Thermal Corona Combat Headgear work?

Sagar Gupta:

Thermal Corona Combat Headgear- TCCH is a helmet that has an attached thermal camera on top of it. It has a screen in which we put our normal phone and it can take the temperature on a land-to-land basis.

A person who wears this headgear will be able to thermally scan elevated body temperature (EBT) of individuals from a safe distance of 10-15 meters.

It is also India’s first indigenous land-to-land thermal detection equipment. The wearer of the headgear will be able to scan the elevated body temperature-EBT.

This has been specially designed to assist the frontline COVID warriors like police personnel and healthcare authorities who are at ground, now can scan the temperature of over 4000 people in under 3 hours.

It can also send LIVE feedback to a centralized control center. We conducted a POC, partnering with Delhi Police (Rajouri Garden) where over 200 individuals were scanned at a road crossing.

The response was as great as the Thermal Corona Combat Drone. The authorities require this on a large scale. We are partnering with Delhi Police and also are in the final stages of enhancing the product with the help of image processing so that they can take the EBT of many people in a single frame automatically.

How is robotics being received in India and what industries are applying it?

Sagar Gupta:

Robotics is gaining ground in India steadily, although India has only 3 robots for every 10,000 workers, enterprises are increasingly turning to robots to save manpower and cost.

The adoption of robots has been slow in India. However, with more firms investing in digitization, the levels are set to increase.

The robotics in India started small but it’s growing fast as India already has many of the basic elements in place to become a robotics industry force, including a strong educational system, established business and academic research facilities, and an increasingly entrepreneurial business community.

Over the past several years, the Indian robotics industry has pushed far beyond traditional business areas, such as manufacturing and production, to enter emerging domains including education, rehabilitation, and entertainment.

Over the same time span, the number of Indian robotics researchers and educators have grown from just a handful to several hundred skilled professionals working in the industry, higher education, and energy organizations.

The Robotics Society of India is working to encourage interaction between robotics researchers in India and their counterparts worldwide.

The organization also holds national-level conferences publish newsletters and journals and collaborate on projects with other global robotics-oriented organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Also working to advance Indian robotics is the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR). One of India’s oldest robotics research organizations, CAIR was established in1986. As a laboratory located within the Indian defense ministry’s Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO), CAIR initially focused on the areas of robotics, AI, and control systems.

In November 2000, CAIR assimilated R & D groups working in several other departments within DRDO. As a result, CAIR has become India’s leading laboratory for various areas in defense robotics, IT, and communications technologies.

CAIR became an ISO 9001-certified lab in 2008.

Robotics is already dealing with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots coupled with computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

Since the turn of the 20th century, research into the functionality and potential uses of robots have seen a lot of action.

Given the rapid pace of technological advances, research, design, and the building of new robots have begun to serve various practical purposes – domestically, commercially and militarily.