Drone Fusion, the platform that helps to educate drone professionals of the future has landed in India. In both Bengaluru and Kozhikode (Calicut), educational institutions and drone solution providers are planning a special Drone Fusion Day in 2022, during which drone researchers, schools and universities and the business community will come together to take technology to a higher level and to recruit sufficient future professionals.
In Bengaluru, the Drone Fusion platform is embraced by Prof. drs. Marianne Franzen. She is Head of International Consultancy and Industrial Engagements at Cambridge Institute of Technology in Bengaluru, President of the Indian Netherlands Business Circle in the same city, focusing on building bridges between India and The Netherlands.
“We have started a number of drone research projects at the university and are looking into research and new forms of aviation also considering how to finance them”, says Franzen.“
Drone technology is very much alive in India. Franzen says she recently read over 480 research ideas submitted by students in Bengaluru who entered a research competition organised by the Indian Netherlands Business Circle. Students can win an innovation award with this. “The number of research proposals that include a role for drones is enormous.”
Franzen has been working for some time with Thierry Tartarin, the initiator of Drone Fusion, and sees many opportunities for the initiative in India. “A lot is happening here. I have gathered a team of 5 professors around me in Bengaluru, who in turn supervise groups of students who are working with this technology.”
But what is often still lacking in India is contact between academia and industry. Franzen: “While students are of course not only future customers of the business community, but also potential employees. And as long as the gap between education and industry remains this wide, it will take longer for companies to tap into the talents of young people and longer for students to feel at home within those companies. I'm trying everything to narrow that gap and Drone Fusion is exactly the initiative we need right now. In 2022 we will therefore organise the first Drone Fusion day in Bengaluru together with Thierry and other stakeholders.”
India’s world ambition
Franzen observes that companies find it very fun and useful to come into contact with Indian students. “Not only the Indian companies, but also Western ones. They see that India has a huge potential of smart and talented people. I notice that a great deal of knowledge and know-how is exchanged in various exchange projects. Students love it: they normally don't learn how day-to-day work within a company works at a university.”
Franzen envisions a great future for drone technology in India. “India is not a country, but actually a continent, with about as many states as the European Union. Drones can certainly contribute to huge steps forward in healthcare and agriculture. Furthermore Prime Minister Modi has recently set out an ambitious plan for India to become the number one drone technology country in the world with substantial investments in that sector, starting with the armed forces and moving to industries like agriculture.”
This is confirmed by Afreed Ali, founder and CMO of Autonomous Industries, India's leading Enterprise Drone Solution provider for drone surveying, mapping & inspection by industry experts. Autonomous Industries is located in Kozhikode (Calicut) in the Kerala province and has been providing cutting edge high-quality aerospace systems to the paramilitary, commercial, aerospace and defence sectors. Autonomous Industries also provides licences for Drone Piloting in Kerala and is the first and only institution in Kerala that can provide such certification. They are also associated with FIMS ( Farook Institute of Management Studies) which is a Business School based at Kozhikode for market research and business consulting.Dr. Ahamed Riaz, Dy. Director and Professor of marketing at FIMS is also very optimistic about this initiative. He has been associating with Thierry Tartarin for business model research since 2019. He has initiated the industry academia collaboration for drone business along with Autonomous Industries for market research and business models. Together they have initiated a drive in Kerala to study and implement marketing strategies for promoting drones and its application. The initial emphasis is on educating and producing licensed drone pilots in Kerala as the Indian government has come with regulations for drone usage.
Dr. Ahamed Riaz and Afreed Ali see interest in drone technology growing across the country. “It is used for road inspection, power line monitoring, bridge and solar plant inspections, forest and wildlife survey and agriculture. The possibilities are endless, just like our country. But it is a challenge to find well-trained people. That is why we also work closely with educational institutions in Kerala and support Thierry's Drone Fusion initiative. We are also planning to organise a Drone Fusion Day in Kozhikode with the support of FIMS. Though there is considerable demand for drone operators, the search for licensed, authorised operators remains a challenge.”
Despite the fact that the drone industry in India is not yet very large, Ali sees that both government and business are investing a lot of money in the sector. “However, we cannot do without smart and talented young people. That is why collaboration with institutions like FIMS and universities is so important.”
Drone Fusion and ADW Hybrid
During ADW Hybrid, 29-31 March 2022 in Amsterdam, Drone Fusion will be launched officially. For more information visit: https://www.amsterdamdroneweek.com/amsterdam-hybrid/