Dr Jitendra launches 'unmanned driverless' vehicle facility, interacts with startups

Union Minister of State Dr Jitendra Singh
Union Minister of State Dr Jitendra Singh File/ GK

Hyderabad, July 4: Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on Monday launched the latest, first-of-its-kind, 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 Cr, the “Technology innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation (TiHAN)”, inaugurated today by Dr Jitendra, is a multidisciplinary initiative, which will make India a global player in the futuristic and next generation “Smart Mobility” technology, an official statement said.

Dr Jitendra, who is also the Union Minister of State (independent charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (independent charge) Earth Sciences besides MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, keenly 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 established a new Post Graduation course of M Tech in “Smart Mobility”, which is the first-of-its-kind in India. He said that he was glad to know that the Ministry of Science & Technology played a role in promoting this visionary and futuristic initiative in India, which was going to be of global relevance in the years to come.

He said that the vision of TiHAN-IITH was to become a global player for next-generation smart mobility technologies and the Ministry of Science & Technology had come forward to support this initiative, which would be a trendsetter for others as well.

Dr Jitendra informed that limited test-beds or proving grounds exist worldwide to investigate the operation of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by simulating various scenarios that might 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 test-bed facility for assessing autonomous vehicle performance, and hence the need for this TiHAN test-bed,” the Minister added.

He said that giving a mega push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Technology vision, Technology innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Foundation (TiHAN)-IITH had already taken many forward-looking initiatives to promote innovation in the mobility sector. He said that TiHAN test-bed would 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.

Dr Jitendra informed that TiHAN in collaboration with IIT Hyderabad established a new interdisciplinary 2-year M Tech programme on Smart Mobility, the first of its kind in the country. He also added that TiHAN -IITH was supporting entrepreneurship and skill development activities in this area of autonomous navigations.

He said that India’s mobility sector was one of the world’s largest markets and the TiHAN - IITH would be the source of futuristic technology generation for autonomous vehicles. He also added that the TiHAN-IITH test-bed on Autonomous Navigations (Aerial & Terrestrial) would allow India testing the next generation autonomous navigation technologies accurately and allow faster technology development and global market penetration.

The Union Minister reiterated that the nation progressed a long way technologically under the leadership of our visionary Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many programmes were launched to make India a leader and destination for futuristic technologies. “One such initiative is the setting up of 25 technology innovation hubs by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) across the country under National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (NM-ICPS),” he said.

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