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Country’s first testbed for autonomous navigation launched at IIT-Hyderabad

India’s first Autonomous Navigation facility, TiHAN was inaugurated by Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology at the IIT Hyderabad campus on Monday.

Developed at a budget of Rs. 130 crores by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology, TiHAN (Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation) is a multidisciplinary initiative that will make India a global player in the futuristic and next generation ‘smart mobility’ technology.

The minister said that the vision of TiHAN-IITH is to become a global player for next generation smart mobility technologies and the Ministry of Science & Technology has come forward to support this initiative, which will be a trendsetter for others as well.

“Limited testbeds or proving grounds exist worldwide to investigate the operation of unmanned and connected vehicles in a controlled environment by simulating various scenarios that may occur in real-life traffic operations, ranging from frequently occurring to extreme cases. In India, there is presently no such testbed facility for assessing autonomous vehicle performance, and hence the need for this TiHAN Testbed.”

Singh said that giving a mega push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Technology vision, Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Foundation (TiHAN)-IITH has already taken many forward-looking initiatives to promote innovation in the mobility sector.

“TiHAN Testbed will provide a unique platform for high quality research between academia, industry and R&D labs both at the national and international level, thus making India a global leader in autonomous navigation technologies.”

India’s mobility sector is one of the world’s largest markets and the TiHAN – IITH will be the source of futuristic technology generation for autonomous vehicles, Singh added.

He said that the TiHAN-IITH testbed on Autonomous Navigations (Aerial & Terrestrial) will allow us to test the next generation autonomous navigation technologies accurately and allow faster technology development and global market penetration.

Singh reiterated that the nation has progressed a long way technologically under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many programs have been launched to make India a leader and destination for futuristic technologies. “One such initiative is the setting up of 25 technology innovation hubs by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) across the country under National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).”

The minister said that TiHAN is developing and deploying a real-time CPS system utilising autonomous UAVs and ground/surface vehicles for many application sectors of the national importance of this decade.

“This testbed includes simulation platforms that allow for non-destructive testing of algorithms and prototypes. Several real-world scenarios can be emulated on the testbed. In terrestrial systems, a few examples of these scenarios are Smart Cities, Signalised Intersections, Autonomous Vehicle Interactions with Cyclists and Pedestrians, Wireless Networking among vehicles and Road-Side Units, etc. The autonomous vehicle testbed also provides dummy signboards, pedestrians, overpasses, and bikers to test all real-world conditions.”

Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Dr. Srivari Chandrasekhar said that the testing facility also includes an airstrip, soft landing area, hangar for keeping drones, a Ground control station (GCS), Telemetry Station for Performance Evaluation. “Performance evaluation of Payloads such as LiDAR, radar, camera, etc., is being evaluated. Control transition between manual and autonomous operation, and studies on public acceptance of driverless vehicles. The standard operating procedures for unmanned vehicles, will significantly aid in formulating the regulations and operating policies for different applications in the Indian scenario.” Livemint

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