Amazon Web Services and drone-industry body Drone Federation of India have partnered to identify and develop solutions which use machine learning algorithms for analysing, and generating insights from data collected using drones. The initiative, called the ‘Adopt Drones’ program, intends to build these AI-driven solutions to eventually pitch them to large enterprises, DFI said in a press release.
The program will run in six phases and focus on solutions for twenty sectors, including agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, and rural development. Companies looking to participate will have to pitch their AI-led drone data analysis solutions, and AWS and DFI will shortlist solutions based on their feasibility, predicted market size, and current stage of the solution.
“Drones collect an enormous amount of data, usually in the form of images and videos. This data is then processed using software to derive qualitative and quantitative business insights. While this analysis is crucial, the current analytical processes are laborious and have lesser accuracy and efficiency than what is needed for large scale deployments.
“There is a need to have faster and more data-driven decisions to increase the efficiency of businesses, which is achievable by using algorithms, advanced computing systems, and machine learning technology to generate more precise and actionable insights.” — Drone Federation of India
Amazon Web Services will provide drone application developers support in multiple areas like technical review of their solutions for cost and performance, offer them credits to use AWS cloud services, test and deploy their secure and scalable solutions on the cloud, and go-to-market support to help developers pitch the solution to large enterprises.
Smit Shah, director of the Drone Federation of India, told MediaNama that the first deadline to apply to the program is 45 days. However, depending on the number of applications received, the deadline can be extended further. “The target is to finally shortlist about 30 companies, with at least one company working on areas like agriculture, healthcare, entertainment, telecom, and urban planning among others,” he added.
When we asked him about the final goal of the program, he said that “AWS and DFI will do a joint go-to-market with the final case studies. The objective is to empower all types of customers with knowledge on how drones can improve their business efficiency”.
Drones flying as part of this program will need a conditional exemption from the Civil Aviation Ministry, and airline regulator DGCA, and Shah said that “whatever permissions are required, will be taken”.
The program comes right as the Indian government has started allowing various stakeholders to deploy drones to gather data from the ground. These include inspecting thermal power plants, and large land stretches to gather topographical data, among others.
Increasing deployment of drones to gather data
Over the last two months, the Civil Aviation Ministry has allowed a number of government bodies to deploy drones to gather data from the ground:
- In November, it allowed Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute (ICRISAT) to deploy drones for agricultural research activities.
- NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) obtained a conditional exemption from the DGCA on October 19 for carrying out research and inspection activities at three of its power stations in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
- Drones will also be used for gathering geographical data for the upcoming Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System. The data gathered from the drones will be used to develop a web-based Geographical Information System (GIS) platform for the project.
- CEPT University (Ahmedabad) was allowed to use drones to gather data for a research project about energy use in urban areas.
MediaNama has prepared an exhaustive guide to the drone industry in India, encompassing regulations, use cases, concerns around privacy and surveillance, and the way forward for the industry. The guide is available here.