MoS for Civil Aviation launches Drone-based Technology, Skill Development, Administrative Center and Droneport at IIT Guwahati
Hon'ble Minister Gen. V. K. Singh (Rtd) and Prof. T G Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahti at the Guwahati Drone Utsav held on campus on 09-11-2021 (1)

Guwahati, Nov 9: Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Rtd), Minister of State Civil Aviation launched India’s first Center for Excellence in Research on Drone/UAV Technology and Artificial Intelligence, Skill development Center for Drone/UAV operation and maintenance, Nodal Center for overall administrative Drone Data management for NE region and “AXOM Droneport,” at IIT Guwahati which will be used to support cargo drones delivering urgent/medical and emergency supplies/precious supplies to remote areas of the North East.

This Droneport was among the four initiatives inaugurated by the Minister of State at IIT Guwahati to promote the development and adoption of drone technology in the North-Eastern Region.

The program was jointly organised by IIT Guwahati and FICCI. These initiatives will address various aspects of the development and implementation of drone technology such as technological advancements, training, legal aspects, administrative management, logistics, and adoption for the benefit of the entire region and the country.

Droneport at IIT Guwahati
IIT Guwahati Drone Utsav

Addressing the inaugural event, Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Rtd) said, “I assure you that the Government will leave no stone unturned. Having understood the remarkable potential of Drones to transform every sector of the Economy, the Government of India, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has brought out the New Drone Rules in August 2021 and has followed it up with a Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) Scheme for manufacturers. Our Focus is to develop India’s capabilities as an important and integral value multiplier to the global drone ecosystem.”

Drones offer tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy. They can be significant creators of employment and economic growth due to their reach, versatility, and ease of use, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas. It’s encouraging to see the IITs of our country take some timely initiatives in this direction. I pay my regards to the people who are driving the growth of drones in India,” Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Rtd) said.

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The Minister of State began his tour by interacting with Drone companies and start-ups and he was accompanied by Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, Prof. Sashindra K. Kakoty, Deputy Director, IIT Guwahati, and Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Dean (Public Relations and Branding), IIT Guwahati. Shri Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India, DipankarBarua, Chairman, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Assam State Council and Sumeet Gupta, FICCI, New Delhi.

The Minister presided over the meeting of guests, dignitaries, Kendriya Vidyalaya-IITG students, farmers, medical practitioners, policymakers and other end users. Thereafter, he proceeded to the inauguration of the IIT Guwahati Centre for Excellence for Drones and Artificial Intelligence.

Droneport at IIT Guwahati
A drone developed by Marut Drones, a startup founded by IIT Guwahati alumni

Welcoming the Minister of State to the Campus, Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “IIT Guwahati has taken the lead and made a significant contribution in self-reliance (Atmanirbhar Bharat) in several sectors and has been focusing on various technology-based development projects for the benefit of the region. Utilizing the salient features which Drone assisted technology offers, the remote and difficult terrains in the entire northeast region can be brought within reach during any emergency. IIT Guwahati will share its research expertise, impart skill development, set-up a droneport and provide all administrative support and fulfil the vision of Hon’ble PM of India Shri NarendraModijito realize the potential of India to be global drone hub by 2030

Highlighting the FICCI’s initiatives to further augment the development of drone technology in the country, Dipankar Barua, Chairman, FICCI Assam State Council said – “North-eastern region of the country is on a progressive track and welcomes the use of drone technology for overall development and especially in areas like Border Security, Agriculture, Health, Tourism, Mining and Infrastructure. FICCI has been closely working with MoCA throughout the process of policy transformation, supporting the Ministry with its inputs in form of white papers and policy recommendations. We will continue to support government machinery and industry in all possible ways to make India a drone hub.”

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The IIT Guwahati Centre for Excellence for Drones/UAV and Artificial Intelligence addresses a broad spectrum of technical and social concerns related to drone technology.

It has been established with the vision to design and develop the most advanced indigenous drones for solving the northeast region’s most persistent problems and contributing to the nation’s technological achievements.

Along with the Technology Incubation Hub where research on underwater drones is also being carried out, this centre will utilize the diverse expertise available across the institute to provide thrust in the development of drones/UAVs, software platforms, data collation and analysis as well as creating broad application base.

It will also assist innovators and start-ups in their research and development activities. In addition to this, the centre will work on the ideation and implementation of drone policies and regulations. Similarly, the testing and due certification of drones will also be one of the organization’s focuses. Already two Drone-based start-ups are setting up their labs at IIT Guwahati Research Park.

The Minister then inaugurated the Skill Development Center for North East followed by AXOM Droneport at IIT Guwahati and Nodal Centre for North East.

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The Skill Development Center for North East will work in collaboration with the State Government, Ministry of Home Affairs Government of India, Ministry of Defense Government of India, and relevant industrial partners for capacity building and advanced training. It will provide professional UAV training to Government and Private organizations, including users such as farmers, security personnel, disaster relief and management, high power fault detection and remote.

Apart from providing technical training to operate the drones, the centre will also be responsible for the training of rules and regulations. This will create a career opportunity for the youth of the regions and help the adoption of drone technology for the benefit of common people living in difficult terrain.

Nodal Centre for North East will be responsible for the overall administrative management for the northeast region, drafting policies frameworks with State Governments to build a sustainable UAV industry in India. It will promote and strive towards building a safer and scalable environment in the unmanned aviation industry in the northeast. I engage with researchers, Thought Leaders, Industry experts, Visionaries, and policymakers to share their expertise to achieve its goals.