Millions find AI’s latest offspring ChatGPT very cute. But for people like Kiran Raju, who is the Founder & CEO of Grene Robotics, human-machine collaboration and technology like AI are more than a pitstop in the journey towards Industry 5.0. Raju’s team at Grene Robotics, which is building an IoE platform called GreneOS to deliver ‘autonomous organisations’, wants to come up with technological breakthroughs that “can liberate humans to focus on humanity and enable machines to master creativity, curiosity, complex decision making and empathy.” In an e-mail interaction with businessline, Raju offers his insight on a range of subjects including AI, human-machine co-existence and autonomous systems. Excerpts:  


From treating AI, robots and a combination of both as a ‘replacement’ threat to the workforce, have we got on to a stage wherein cobots and AI in its other manifestations are to be treated as an indispensable co-worker. In other words, has AI become mainstream?

AI has made great strides in recent years, particularly in the areas of natural language processing, computer vision and machine learning. These advancements have allowed AI systems to take on tasks that were previously the sole domain of humans, such as customer service, data analysis and even at some levels of decision-making.

Although AI has the potential to greatly enhance tasks and improve efficiency, it will not replace humans. The job of AI is to enhance the productivity of humans and not replace them. Additionally, AI’s abilities are highly dependent on the quality of the data it is trained on, and biases in that data can lead to unintended consequences. This highlights the importance of continued human involvement in ensuring that AI systems are developed and deployed ethically and responsibly. Also, AI has certainly reached a significant milestone in its development, and in our view, it’s only a matter of time before AI is considered a must-have for every industry. 


Has the AI market in India grown the way you have foreseen – both in terms of market size and direction?  

Artificial intelligence is the here to stay and it will definitely redefine the way we work. Some experts believe that the artificial intelligence (AI) market in India is expected to reach $7.8 billion by 2025, the second fastest rate in the world after China. But only if AI is implemented, integrated, and monitored correctly. The AI market in India is growing rapidly due to increased investment in AI and data analytics start-ups, and increasing demand for AI solutions across various industries such as healthcare, defence, enterprise, and retail. These sectors are among the biggest adopters of AI in India.

However, despite the growth, there are certain obstacles that must be addressed such as a lack of standardisation and regulation, a shortage of skilled AI talent, limited access to state-of-the-art technology, and significant ethical and privacy concerns. The government has provided limited support and investment to the industry in the past, but the recent budget aims to drive the growth of AI in India through initiatives like “Make AI in India” and “Make AI work for India”. The government has also said that it will set up three Centres of Excellence for promoting AI research and innovation. These are positive developments for companies working on creating impactful AI solutions for society, the environment, industrial growth and human welfare. The budget sets a strong foundation for the growth of India’s AI ecosystem for the next half a century and provides opportunities for creating sustainable solutions that will support the government’s sustainability goals.


When you unveiled Indrajaal [Indrajaal is said to be India’s first 100 per cent indigenous unified, distributed and wide-area autonomous drone defence dome] in 2021, you had said “establishing a fully functional system is an evolutionary process and needs tech vision and user involvement”. How far have you travelled from that point? 

At Grene Robotics, our platform has manifested itself through two distinct products under the banner of air defence: greneEye and greneDome. greneDome is also known as an anti-drone defence system and air space management system. So Indrajaal is a solution that comes under greneDome that protects against low RCS (radar cross-section) threats including loitering munitions, smart bombs, rocket showers, nano and micro drones.

We have presented the Indrajaal framework at the highest levels of Indian military think-tanks where representatives from all the armed forces were present. It was also recorded in their MOM that Indrajaal has to be the way forward for handling sub-conventional threats. We also have an LOI (letter of intent) from one of the airports in Hyderabad which will be deploying Indrajaal for the first time in a few months. And, there will also be a live demonstration happening shortly.


You also have big plans around ‘forest conservation dome’. What’s happening on this front?

Grene Robotics’ Forest Conservation Dome is a fully autonomous solution that provides multi-spectral near real-time reconnaissance and surveillance of the forest. The solution, once deployed, can help fight modern-day threats, including unauthorised deforestation, wild forest fires, human encroachment, trespassing, smuggling, wildlife poaching, mitigating human-wildlife conflict and tracking animal migration. The solution was first on-ground and implemented in 2021 at Fringe Ford. Fringe Ford is one of the largest privately-owned forests in India. The 600-acre property shares its boundaries with the Wayanad Tiger Reserve, Tholpetty Reserve Forest and Arlam Tiger Reserve, making this entire stretch one of the last remaining bastions of the Malabar rainforests. India has lost 494 elephants to train accidents, electrocution, poaching and poisoning over the past five years. To address this issue, we are in conversation with the Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand forest departments for the prevention of elephant deaths and mitigating human-wildlife conflicts using AI.


Can you throw more light on your association with the TN government?

We are in talks with them (TN government). We will soon make an announcement. This deployment [in Tamilnadu] will help mitigate elephant deaths happening on the railway route that runs through the forest. Grene Robotics’ Forest Conservation Dome will provide real-time surveillance using image recognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence to mitigate human-wildlife conflict in the State.