Dr Jitendra launches latest ‘Autonomous Navigation’ facility, interacts with StartUps



HYDERABAD: Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh on Monday launched state-of-the-art “Autonomous Navigation” facility to develop “unmanned driverless” ground and aerial vehicles, in the IIT Hyderabad campus. The Minister also interacted with Startups developing “unmanned” ground motor vehicles like driverless self-driven motor cars, driverless self-driven bicycles etc., as well as “unmanned’ aerial vehicles including drones in different shapes and sizes.
Funded by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology at a budget of Rs.130 crore, the “Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation”, inaugurated today by Dr Jitendra Singh, is a multidisciplinary initiative, which will make India a global player in the futuristic and next generation “Smart Mobility” technology.
Dr Jitendra listened to the experience of the young Startups, engaged in unmanned vehicle navigation projects and suggested that they should be linked with industry for further sustenance and growth. The Minister also appreciated that IIT Hyderabad has established a new Post Graduation course of M.Tech in “Smart Mobility”, which is the first-of-its-kind in India. The Minister said, the vision of TiHAN-IITH, is to become a global player for next generation smart mobility technologies and the Ministry of Science & Technology has come forward to support this initiative, which will be a trendsetter for others as well. Dr Jitendra informed that limited testbeds or proving grounds exist worldwide to investigate the operation of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by simulating various scenarios that may occur in real-life traffic operations, ranging from frequently occurring to extreme cases. A few examples include Millbrook Proving Grounds in the UK, M-City in the USA, CETRAN in Singapore, K-City in South Korea, JARI in Japan, etc.
In India, there is presently no such testbed facility for assessing autonomous vehicle performance, and hence the need for this TiHAN Testbed, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra said, giving a mega push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Technology vision, Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Foundation (TiHAN)-IITH has already taken many forward looking initiatives to promote innovation in the mobility sector. He said, TiHAN Testbed will provide a unique platform for high quality research between academia, industry and R&D labs both at the national and international level, thus making India a global leader in autonomous navigation technologies.
Also, several real-world scenarios can be emulated on the testbed. In terrestrial systems, a few examples of these scenarios are Smart Cities, Signalised Intersections, Autonomous Vehicle Interactions with Cyclists and Pedestrians, Wireless Networking among vehicles and Road-Side Units, etc. The autonomous vehicle testbed also provides dummy signboards, pedestrians, overpasses, and bikers to test all real-world conditions. Dr. B.V.R. Mohan Reddy (Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Hyderabad), and Prof. B.S. Murty (Director, IIT Hyderabad), and senior officers, faculty and students joined today’s event.