The Department of Science and Technology has sanctioned ₹135 crore to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems.

The Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles at IIT Hyderabad, known as 'TiHAN Foundation' has been incorporated as a Section-8 company by the institute in June 2020.

After laying the foundation stone for the facility, Union Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said: “TiHAN Foundation at IIT Hyderabad is a multidepartmental initiative, including researchers from electrical, computer science, mechanical and aerospace, civil, mathematics and Design with collaboration and support from reputed institutions and industry.”

“It is a step towards ‘Aatmanibhar Bharat’ with a focus on the R&D of interdisciplinary technologies in the domain 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.”

Performance in real-life scenarios

Director IIT Hyderabad B. S. Murty, in a statement said, “One major requirement to make unmanned and connected vehicles more acceptable to the consumer society is to demonstrate its performance in real-life scenarios. It is dangerous to directly use the operational roadway facilities as experimental test tracks for unmanned and connected vehicles. 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 technologies developed in a safe, controlled environment before deployment.”

The hub's focus sectors include Intelligent, Autonomous Transportation and Systems, Agriculture, Surveillance, and Environmental & Infrastructure Monitoring.

A two-acre site has been allocated in the IIT Hyderabad campus, and the facilities are planned in phases. All smart poles are enabled with communication providing technology with some Poles designed with sprinklers to simulate rain scenario. The developed testbed will be available for use by industries, R&D labs, academia conducting research and development in the broad areas of autonomous navigation.