Sagar Defence Engineering, which had launched the first unmanned marine surface vehicle for the Indian Navy, is looking to develop the technology further so that it can be used in extreme applications.

The company, a start-up, is eager to cater to the needs of the maritime sector with its unmanned marine vehicles.

Functions The Mumbai-based company says its rugged marine vehicle systems can be used not just by the military for ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), but also to study radiation levels in nuclear power plants and thermal power, and to test out submerged structures, among other things.

Sagar Defence Engineering bagged the first prize at a start-up accelerator programme, jointly created by the Ministry of Shipping, Invest India and DP World, which caters to logistics and maritime services.

The Mumbai start-up sailed past four shortlisted finalists, as they presented their final pitch to a jury chaired by Deepak Parekh, Chairman of HDFC.

Scope in maritime sector Commenting on the start-up accelerator programme, Deepak Bagla, Invest India, said the country offered a unique advantage given its long coastline, and that there were tremendous opportunities for start-ups and large corporations to come up with unique ideas that could provide an impetus to the maritime industry.

At the contest, specially curated to provide an opportunity for start-ups in the maritime sector, Sagar Defence was pitted against Planys, a Chennai-based IIT Madras-incubated company manufacturing indigenous remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and integrating marine robotics, and against Zarrots, a Bhubaneswar-based company developing IOT (Internet of Things) devices to gather and store fuel consumption data of marine vessels in the cloud data storage system.

Hyderabad-based Volteo, which created a Smartport Platform that allows ports to amortise the cost over a period of time, and Bengaluru-based VMW, which focuses on specialised material handling solutions in container handling in ports and terminals, were the other contenders in the fray.

As Parekh pointed out, “The contest received some outstanding entries from start-ups across the country. Showcasing excellent entrepreneurial skills, these start-ups have incredible concepts to promote ease of doing business in the country.”

Coming from different parts of the country, the start-ups showcased innovative ideas for the maritime sector and trade.

The contest is a precursor to the upcoming Maritime India Summit, as also the government’s ‘Make in India’ vision.

The winner was awarded ₹15 lakh by global trade enabler DP World, at an event in Mumbai, to support its project at the Maritime India Summit.

Unmanned surface vehicle Sagar Defence Engineering is founded by Nikunj Parashar. The company’s unmanned marine surface vehicle has been successfully inducted in the Indian armed forces.

Parashar said the company would use the prize money to build its first unmanned surface vehicle, scheduled to be launched in October, for the oil and gas sector.