Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) set up a new technology innovation hub on autonomous navigation (TiHAN) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and remotely operated vehicles following a funding of Rs 135 crore from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The foundation stone of ‘TiHAN-IIT’ Hyderabad, a testbed for autonomous navigation systems (terrestrial and aerial), was laid by the Union minister of education Ramesh Pokhriyal virtually on Tuesday.
The new hub has been established in two acres of land within the campus and the facilities are planned in phases. It will facilitate research grounds to investigate the functioning of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by replicating different scenarios, ranging from frequently occurring to extreme cases that may ensue in real-life traffic operations.
“With an essential focus on the research and development of interdisciplinary technologies in the specific domain area of autonomous navigation and data acquisition systems, this hub focuses on addressing various challenges hindering the real-time adoption of unmanned autonomous vehicles for both terrestrial and aerial applications,” said Pokhriyal.The testbed inaugurated by the IIT-H is a first-of-its-kind facility in any academic institution in the country. “One major requirement to make unmanned and connected vehicles more acceptable to the consumer society and demonstrate its performance in real-life scenarios. However, it may become dangerous,” said BS Murty, director, IIT-H. “In general, both UAV and UGV testing may include crashes and collisions with obstacles, resulting in damage to costly sensors and other components. Hence, it is important to test new technologies developed in a safe, controlled environment before deployment,” he added.
All smart poles within the institute are enabled with communication providing technology with some poles designed with sprinklers to simulate rain scenario. “At present, there is no such testbed facility in India to evaluate the autonomous navigation of vehicles. Therefore, it is envisioned to address this gap by developing a fully functional and exemplary testbed facility dedicated to connected autonomous vehicles – CAVs – in a portion of IIT-H campus,” said P Rajalakshmi, project director – TiHAN and professor, department of electrical engineering, IIT-H.