Lucknow: It was curtains for the five-day DefExpo2020 on Sunday with thousands of visitors thronging the venue here at Vrindavan Yojana to get a glimpse of the war-fighting and intelligence-enabling machines that were on display.
At this biennial show, primarily for land-based military equipment, there were several home-grown robotic solutions on display. Onmanorama picks up to two such systems for you – Bollbot and EyeROV Tuna.
Ballbot is a product from Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a Bengaluru-based DRDO lab, while EveRov Tuna is from a private firm Irov Technologies based out of Kochi.
Scientists from CAIR told Onmanorama during DefExpo2020 that the Ballbot is an ideal solution for surveillance, reconnaissance and patrolling. It has a modular chassis, sensor and computer which can be reconfigured as per the specific requirements.
The Ballbot is targeted for CI/CT (counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism) operations and for paramilitary forces.
“It will provide remote eyes on the ground and reduce human casualty,” says a scientist.
Developed in 18 months, the Ballbot is yet to undertake any trials by the users. But the engineered version for field conditions has been demonstrated to potential users.
The design, development and fabrication activities have been done completely indigenous, while actuators, sensors and computing platforms have been imported.
“The combination of Ballbot and MUGV (Mini Unmanned Ground Vehicle) in a marsupial configuration is unique. However, individually, similar scale of systems are available elsewhere,” the scientists said.
Each MUGV can carry two Ballbots and the operator can deploy them remotely and subsequently all the three can be controlled independently.
On the challenges faced by the young team (average age 32 years) during the development of the Ballbot, the scientist cited ruggedization for military standards in miniature platforms and the availability of miniature sensors and actuators as the major ones.
A new version of Ballbot is in the making and it boasts of features like multi-robot collaboration and integration with flying platforms.
Claimed as India’s first commercial inspection class MROV (micro remotely operated vehicle), EyeROV Tuna is capable of undertaking probe missions of underwater structures.
“It is capable of going to depths of 100-m and is very easy to operate with the help of a laptop or a joystick. It is very cost-effective as well,” says Nirmal Thomas, a young product engineer manning the stall at DefExpo2020.
EyeRov Tuna is fitted with a camera that does the duties of sending live video feed of the underwater environment. It can be used for inspections of railway bridge piers, ship hull, dams and port structures to name a few.
At DefExpo2020, many defence officials seem to have shown their keen interest in the EyeRov Tuna, a product that’s already in operation.
This MROV can be used for salvage operations as well.
“Our MROV is cost-effective, easy to operate and maintain. This forms the fundamental requirement for any user and EyeRov Tuna satisfies them all,” adds Nirmal.
With AI (artificial intelligence) making deep inroads in aerospace and defence sector, the DefExpo2020 saw many companies exhibiting their products for military and commercial use.
The dedicated India Pavilion at the show saw many futuristic technologies such as AI, Augmented Virtual Reality (AVR), Autonomous Systems, Internet of Military Things (IoMT) and Industry 4.0 to name a few.
(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)