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IIT-Hyderabad, ARAI Ink MoU for Autonomous Vehicle Technology

The Indian Institute of Technology in Hyderabad’s (IIT-Hyderabad) Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation (TiHAN) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI). They will collaborate in the field of India-specific technology development, simulations, and the real-world verification and validation of advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. TiHAN and ARAI will jointly promote research and develop and offer solutions, technologies, and practices to the industry to enable smart mobility in autonomous vehicles.

The collaboration will significantly contribute to safe and sustainable autonomous mobility solutions in India and provide greater insight into TiHAN activities. It will update testbeds on autonomous navigations (aerial/terrestrial) in the campus, the Project Director of TiHAN-IIT-H stated. The collaboration will also promote the innovation ecosystem, skill development, and entrepreneurship activities in the area of autonomous navigation systems.

According to an official statement, the partnership will further strengthen ARAI’s abilities and activities in the field of smart mobility. ARAI has been looking for avenues to disseminate knowledge in a structured way and is keen to offer joint programmes, the ARAI Director noted.

TiHAN at IIT-H focuses on the research, design, and development of autonomous navigation and data acquisition systems for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and RoVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles), etc. An official said that TiHAN aims to support activities related to autonomous navigation, which will make India a leader in the domain. TiHAN intends to be at the forefront in devising technology, protocols, testing, and validation through testbed, which will be inaugurated shortly.

Recently, IIT-Hyderabad announced it is investing more than IN₹10 million (US$133,406) in six start-ups that are working in the areas of autonomous navigation. A news report stated that these deep-tech start-ups largely work on building drones, an autonomous indoor logistics ecosystem for warehousing, and surveillance UAVs, etc. The prototype-ready start-ups, which are working on projects like building sentient drones, an autonomous indoor logistics ecosystem for warehousing, ecological monitoring using drones, would get IN₹2.5 million (US$33,351) each.

Apart from this, TiHAN is also investing up to IN₹1 million (US$13,341) in early-stage start-ups, including a project that is building surveillance UAVs, another that is making drones for video and photo applications, and a project that is working on passive thermal cooling systems for li-ion battery packs. In addition to the start-ups, these facilities will also be available for researchers and the industry at large, an official noted. TiHAN is going to support more deep-tech start-ups in the coming months.

In September, ARAI indigenously developed a charger for electric vehicles (EV) to boost the EV ecosystem in the country. To promote EVs, charging infrastructure is crucial, since mobility chargers are imported, the association’s focus is to develop these indigenously, which will be cost-effective and boost the local economy, the ARAI Director noted. He was speaking at a press conference organised to announce the details of the Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT 2021). Many EV components, including motors, controllers, and chargers are imported. ARAI has developed indigenous technology for EV charger AC001, which has been taken up for manufacturing and promotion by Bharat Electronics. The charging points will be set up by Bharat Electronics and parts for EV charger systems will be manufactured locally.

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