India Police investigate pizza deliveries by drone




Police in the Indian city of Mumbai are reportedly looking into why a restaurant started using a drone to deliver pizzas without letting them know.

Francesco’s Pizzeria says it successfully used a remote-controlled four-rotored drone to send an order to a skyscraper about 1.5km (1 mile) away, the Economic Times reports. In a city that’s famous for its snarling traffic jams, the restaurant says drone deliveries could be a green solution that saves on time too. A video the pizzeria put together seems to show footage from one of the test flights.

But the city police now say they’re checking whether the restaurant asked permission from the civil aviation authorities. “As per norms, permission must be taken for flying any such object,” an air traffic control official says. A local police chief told the told the PTI news agency: “We are very sensitive towards anything that flies in the sky with the help of remote control.”

Indian security forces are nervous about the possibility of terror attacks using paragliders or drones, according to sources quoted by IBN Live. But Francesco’s insists the experiment was safe. A source told the Economic Times the drone never went higher than 130m (400ft) to avoid interfering with other traffic, and the craft was never out of the reach of the controller. Last year, Amazon said it was testing unmanned drones for deliveries, but said it could take up to five years for the service to actually start.

Source: WorldNewsChannel and Francesco’s Pizzeria

India. Replaced by a Robot

A scene from Oru Robovin Diary. Photo: M. Karunakaran

The problems faced by aging parents, who are left to fend for themselves by their U.S.-settled wards, were highlighted in Chennai Navabharath’s ‘Oru Robovin Diary.

The play was staged as part of Kartik Fine Arts’ Kodai nataka VIzha.

Veteran actor Koothabiran was the anchor, who lived the role of Nataraja Iyer. He capitalised on his real age to execute his role with ease. The sag at times seemed inevitable.

Natarajan’s son Ramkumar (Vignesh Ratnam), daughter-in-law Charukesi (Anuradha Ganesh) and grandson are about to return to the U.S. after their vacation in Chennai. Nataraja Iyer is unable to bear the separation and pleads with his son to stay back, something he has been doing for the past 22 years.

Ramkumar, a software engineer, designs a robot which is programmed to carry out his father’s every command. And the machine does it — preparing coffee, administering medicines or playing songs, it does anything and everything. Ramkumar assures his father that it will make good his absence.

The director N. Rathnam’s effort to enact part of the robot, was praiseworthy. Nowhere did he flounder, either in his mannerism or in dialogue delivery. Rathnam, who takes credit for the story and dialogue as well, packed the scenes with a fair amount of melodrama.

Vignesh Ratnam, as somebody torn between the lure of material comforts and the love for his father, exhibited appropriate expressions. For instance, his anguish when he is informed about the pink slip waiting for him in the U.S. Anuradha Ganesh as the nagging wife, was convincing. T.P. Sreeram as the wise family doctor, who advises Ramkumar about relationships, N. Ganesan as the cook and R. Venkatraghavan as Ramkumar’s greedy father-in-law, did justice to their roles.

Incisive dialogue pepped up the play. Background score by Sanjana and Nikhil had a right mix of peppy tunes and melancholic phrases, and helped. However, one felt making use of the veena, flute and the sitar would have lifted the emotional scenes to greater heights.

Grey Orange Robotics raises funds from Tiger Global

Bangalore: Gurgaon-based robotics start-up Grey Orange Robotics Pvt. Ltd has raised an undisclosed sum in a Series A round of funding led by Tiger Global and Blume Ventures Advisors along with independent investors Alok Rawat and Dileep Nath.
A person familiar with the deal put the money raised at about $10 million (around Rs.60 crore).
The funds will be used for hiring talent, scaling up research and development (R&D) operations and for global expansion, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Supply chain efficiencies are going to be a pivotal factor for global trade and it’s exciting to support a company that’s looking at solving this problem,” said Sanjay Nath, managing partner, Blume Ventures.
Grey Orange, headquartered in Singapore, was founded by Samay Kohliand Akash Gupta in 2011. The company builds robots and assisting systems to help workers sort and arrange goods in warehouses. The robots, called ‘sorters’ and ‘butlers’, depending on their functions, fall under the category of swarm robotics, which means that a bunch of individual robots perform a module of a larger task that is divided into many sub-tasks.

A year into its inception, Grey Orange Robotics got a combined investmentof $500,000 from BITS Spark Angels, a network run by the alumni of BITS Pilani, and Blume Ventures Advisors.
“We’re in fact being quite selective about whom we decide to partner with, as we start manufacturing our next generation of robots. We will be starting off with installations in Singapore and some other international markets,” said Kohli, co-founder, Grey Orange.
The company’s pipeline of customers includes some of the largest names in e-commerce, including India’s largest e-commerce player Flipkart, third party logistics and retail companies.

Source: Livemint


Borewell. Robot with a human touch

With three separate incidents of children falling into open borewells across the State since April 7, the Madurai Rescue Team, with its borewell robot, has been on its toes.

The team, led by M. Manikandan, a faculty of the Electrical and Plumbing Department at the TVS Community College, armed with its ingenious ‘Borewell robot’ played a vital role in the successful rescue of 4-year-old G. Harshan who was trapped in a borewell near Sankarankoil.

Visibly upset about the fact that they could not save 18-month-old Sujith, who had fallen into a borewell in Tiruvannamalai, the team says the robot was unable grip the hands of the baby due the position he was trapped in.

“Borewells these days are dug at great depth and when abandoned, are simply covered with gunny sacks. In most cases, the abandoned borewells do not have the inner pipe which results in the children getting trapped under mud from the sides of the pit which fall,” says Mr. Vallarasu, a mechanical engineer in a private firm, who is part of the team.

Say in case, people spend about Rs.40,000 for digging a borewell and then when they find no water, they retrieve the inner pipes that help them recover a portion of the money, the team says. And this often becomes the death trap as the slush and mud complicate the rescue operations.

The team members say that parents should refrain from panicking and should keep talking constantly to the child.

“The child should be immediately given oxygen. Any action which scrapes the sides of the pit and loosens the mud should be avoided,” they say. The robot is fitted with a high resolution camera, which is first lowered down into the borewell to monitor the position and movements of the child which is viewed on a mini TV.

“The robot has an ‘arm’ at the end of the structure which is lowered into a borewell through a rope and pulley. I have fashioned different kinds of arms which can be fitted to pull out the child depending on what position he or she is trapped in,” explains M. Thirunavukkarasu, another member and also a faculty member at the TVS College.

P. Rajkumar, a driver with a travels company, is the other member of the team.

The team was felicitated by the Rotary Club of Madurai West with the ‘Vocational Excellence Award’ on Friday where they said that the government should step in and equip the fire and rescue departments across the State with the robot.

“Even though I’ve stated many times that I’ve nurtured this idea and had to work for years to give it a shape, I pray each day that a need for the borewell robot should not arise and that children should stay safe,” Mr Manikandan said, accepting the award.

Source: The Hindu


A robotic welcome for Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam, observing Wall-E, a telepresence robot.

A surprise awaited the former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he visited SMV Institute of Technology and Management at Bantakal on Wednesday.

Dr. Kalam was welcomed by “Wall-E” a tele-presence robot at the institute. The former president was immediately fascinated by it and asked about its functioning.

When the students started operating it, it was a plain amusement! He started interacting with the robot and made it work by giving all kinds of commands such as 360 degree rotation and other navigations.

When the robot started working accordingly, he wanted to know the students behind its successful operation. He congratulated the whole team of students called “The Flying Robodrones” and lauded their efforts in designing and building the robot.

This specially designed robot allows a person to feel as if he was present, to give the appearance of being present or to have an effect at a place other than his true location. The user can navigate the robot from any corner.

“The robot promises to be a low cost one making it economically attractive. The goal is to give a new mode of learning and communicating which hopefully will be implemented in the field of technical education”, said team leader Vignesh Pai.

The student team includes Vignesh Pai, Nikhil Acharya, Rao Prabhakar, Bilal Asadi, Pritam Shetty, Rayan Christ D’Souza and others, the release added.

Dynamatic Technologies and AeroVironment Sign Teaming Agreement for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Dynamatic Technologies and AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a world leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, have signed a Teaming Agreement to address the growing global demand for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The agreement provides for the manufacture of UAVs in India, which will enable Dynamatic® and AeroVironment to work together on a number of business opportunities for potential customers including the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Dynamatic Technologies is a demonstrated leader in the Indian private sector for Aerospace and Defence products, having partnered with the Ministry of Defence and its associated agencies like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on key projects including the Sukhoi Su-30MKI Fighter Bomber, the IJT-36 Intermediate Jet Trainer, and the Lakshya Pilotless Target Aircraft.

“Teaming with AeroVironment is strategic to our efforts to build capabilities in the Aerospace Segment”said Udayant Malhoutra, CEO & Managing Director, Dynamatic Technologies Limited “The combination of AeroVironment’s technical capabilities and unmatched experience in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Dynamatic’s precision engineering capabilities, along with the strong brand equity of both Companies, will facilitate the availability of world-class UAVs” 

With over 24,000 UAVs delivered worldwide, AeroVironment has the largest operational deployment of UAVs in the world and its products are extensively used by the military forces of the United States and 24 other countries.

“This teaming agreement is a key component of AeroVironment’s continued international growth,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment Senior Vice President and General Manager of the company’s unmanned aircraft systems business segment. “We believe that Dynamatic Technologies’ successful track record makes them an ideal teammate for introducing our leading small unmanned aircraft systems to this market,”

Media Coverage: 
 Business Line Business Standard Deccan Herald
 Defence and Security of India Economic Times sUAS News

Source: Dynamatic Technologies

Centre for Free and Open Source Software. develops robot for remote inspection and surveillance

TR-7 is a network enabled robot developed by ICFOSS with multi-domain applications.

Imagine an NRI farm owner monitoring his plantation in Kerala from the comfort of his apartment in New York and alerting labourers to the pest attack at one end of the farm. Or an army commander stationed at a remote location using his laptop to see and interact with his troops on the battlefield hundreds of km away.

Senior corporate officials on tour can keep close tabs on office proceedings through visuals and audio while undersea salvage operations can be supervised from shore. All this is possible through telepresence robots equipped with sensors, cameras and audio features to provide feedback to a remote user.

If telepresence robots have not found mass application, it is because they are expensive (upwards of $10,000), making them unaffordable for most users. Modern personal devices like tablets and smartphones are now enabling a new generation of low-cost telepresence robots.

The Technopark-based International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) has developed the prototype of an affordable network-enabled telepresence robot for remote inspection and surveillance in the military, industrial, medical, and agricultural domains.

Based on Open Source hardware and software platforms, the prototype named TR-7 was developed as part of an Android R&D project of the Union Department of Information Technology (DIT), currently being implemented by ICFOSS.

TR-7 was fabricated by Ingen Robotics, a local firm focusing on new-generation robotics, based on specifications provided by ICFOSS. According to a press note issued by ICFOSS, TR-7 was made using locally available components. The user can operate the robot remotely from anywhere in the world using a computer with Internet connection and software to control the robot.

It enables the user to drive around and see and hear the remote location using the robot’s built- in camera and microphone. Anyone at the remote location can also see and hear the user through the robot’s display and speakers.

Rejin Narayanan, chief executive officer, Ingen Robotics, said the navigation electronics and communication protocols posed the greatest challenge to the project.

The robot resembling a kneeling biped, uses an Android tablet to run its software, and displays the remote user’s face. The built-in speakers and microphone of the tablet are also used for communication.

TR-7 is a differential drive robot, where the two wheels in the front can be driven independent of each other. This allows the robot to take tight turns. The user can connect to the robot using any Linux PC on which the remote control and communication software can be run.

Says R. Srinivasan, project manager of the DIT Project of ICFOSS, “The first version of the robot has proven that telepresence devices based on Open Source platforms such as Android are fully viable. Further work needs to be done on areas such as enhanced robot autonomy, pan-tilt-zoom capability on the robot, and automated homing.”

Source: The Indu