India’s first human carrying platform — pilot-less drone made its debut in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The makers of this indigenous pilot-less ‘Varuna’ drone startup Sagar Defence Engineering demonstrated this in his presence. The Prime Minister was there to address the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) seminar ‘Swavlamban’ which took place at Dr Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.
This ‘Varuna’ drone has been designed and developed by a startup and has the capacity to carry one person inside. According to the founder and CEO of Sagar Defence Engineering Nikunj Parashar, “It was a proud moment for us when the Prime Minister witnessed the demonstration of our product here in New Delhi.”
During the demonstration the pilot-less drone flew around two meters above and then moved forwards before coming back to land.
More about Varuna
Sharing details with Financial Express Online, Mr Parashar said, “This this drone has been made specifically for the use by the Indian Navy. Varuna has been developed in two parts. One being the technology which helps it to land and take off from moving warships and the second being the platform itself. The landing and taking off technology has been developed in tandem with Indian Navy DSR and the Varuna is currently being developed along with NTDAC (Naval Technology Development acceleration cell).”
Also, “30 such drones which can land and take off from warships have been delivered to the Navy, and it is also the first time ever that the Indian Navy is inducting drones on warships.”
Initially it can be used for moving /transferring materials. There are four auto-pilot models which help the drone to continue flying even if some fans fail to function. This new vehicle has the capability to be used for inter-ship transfer of material and personnel. And is capable of carrying out autonomous take-off and landing even when the ships are moving.
Presently, the land-based trial is on and in the next three months the drone will be sent for sea trials. Besides using it to transfer materials from one ship to another, this can also be used for medical evacuation. This means, in case of emergency, personnel can be evacuated from sea, and immediately taken to the hospital.
Last month Sagar Defence Engineering had given a demonstration of the new personal air mobility vehicle to the Deputy PM of Australia who had visited INS Hansa in Goa.
Sharing details about the pilot-less ‘Varuna’ drone, company’s CEO highlighted some of the features: It has a range of 25 kms with a payload of 130 kgs; and around 25-33 minutes of endurance.
While expressing his appreciation of the Indian Navy, Mr Parashar said that they were given the contract and were asked to complete it in one and a half years.
Underwater Swarm of Drones
This company has already been awarded a contract for the development of an autonomous and intelligent underwater swarm of drones. “Under IDex Dio we are developing them with support from Mazagon Dock Limited (MD). They are our funding, testing as well as manufacturing partner,” Mr Parasher confirmed to Financial Express Online.