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India to join world’s elite club, to hold light show using 1000 drones at Beating Retreat ceremony

The drone project has been developed by Indian StartUp company ‘Botlab Dynamics Private Limited’ with funds from Technology Development Board (TDB)

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

In a big leap forward towards demonstrating India’s fast rise as a global technological power, for the first time ever 1000 drones will take to the evening sky on Saturday during the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony as a part of 3D Choreographed Drone Light Show, marking the conclusion of nearly a week long Republuc Day celebrations here.

“This (light show using 1000 drones) will make India the fourth country, after China, Russia and UK, to carry out such a large-scale show with 1,000 drones,” Union Minister of State (Independent charge) Jitendra Sing said on Friday.

The drone project has been developed by Indian StartUp company ‘Botlab Dynamics Private Limited’ with funds from Technology Development Board (TDB) under Union Ministry of Science and Technology and led by IIT Delhi alumni, a Science and Technology Ministry note stated.

At a demonstration of the drone presentation on Friday, Jitendra Singh interacted with the “Botlab” StartUp team members including Tanmay Bunkar, Sarita Ahlawat, Sujit Rana, Mohit Sharma, Harshit Batra, Kunal Meena and others at his residence.

Jitendra Singh said Boatlab was given an initial seed fund of rupees one crore for Research and Development by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and subsequently Rs 2.5 crore for scale up and commercialisation by Technology Development Board to develop first of its kind technological project in India.

The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to support more such innovative and sustainable Start-ups to ‘fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a Global Hub of Start-up Ecosystem.’

Managing Director of Boatlab Dynamics Sarita Ahlawat said that the drone project could become successful only due to full financial support provided by the ministry of science and technology, as the private sector was reluctant to hand-hold the hardware Start-up. She also thanked the engineers associated with the project ‘for letting go the lucrative MNC offers and owning up the idea.’

Ahlawat thanked the Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh for all the support and encouragement for the project “Design and Development of a Reconfigurable Swarming System Consisting of 500-1000 Drones for Sarita Ahlawat 3D Choreographed Drone Light Shows”.

Jitendra Singh said Boatlab Dynamics incubated at Indian Institute of Technology was able to develop a fleet of 1000 swarm drones in six months after getting financial support from TDB. He said he felt proud that the project was developed indigenously, comprising development of all the necessary components, including both hardware and software such as the flight controller (brain of the drone); precision GPS; motor controller; Ground Control Station (GCS) algorithms etc.

“Botlab in association with the Ministry of Defence has conceptualised the novel ‘DRONE SHOW’ to commemorate the 75th year of Independence. The drone show will be of 10 minutes duration and will showcase government achievements at 75 through many creative formations in the dark sky,” Jitendra Singh said.

Singh said the success of this project is a perfect example of inter-Ministerial coordination wherein everyone from senior officials to the last executing official of MoD, DST TDB and IIT Delhi all worked together to make this program a success and supporting the company in demonstrating the accomplishment of Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission.

The Minister said, the Technology Development Board, a statutory body of Department of Science and Technology has been instrumental in building conducive ecosystems by bringing in new opportunities and horizons for various ecosystems in India. TDB’s belief is that new technologies have an essential role to play in the future decade, contributing to country’s economic, scientific and technological growth.

With its unique mandate, TDB provides financial assistance to Indian industrial concerns and other agencies, attempting development and commercial application of indigenous technologies, or adapting imported technologies to wider domestic applications. The other aspect which makes TDB funding different from other financial bodies is that it also funds companies which involve high-risk technologies, a Science and Technology Ministry note stated.

“Due to paucity of time, the project came as a challenge to TDB but considering the innovation involved and contribution it would make to nation building TDB took this up and we are glad that we could provide the assistance on time. Also, I would also like to thank Prof Ashutosh Sharma (former chairperson, TDB and former Secretary, DST) for his timely support for the project and my predecessor Neeraj Sharma (former Secretary, TDB) for understanding the project’s national importance,” IP&TAFS, Secretary TDB Rajesh Kumar Pathak later said.