Chennai-based startup Torus Robotics is developing Unmanned Ground Vehicles for the Indian Army. These vehicles can be operated like robots and can be used from a safe distance. The founders of this startup are Vignesh Kandasamy, Karthikeyan B and Vibhakar Senthil.
The Better India Speaking to TOI, Vignesh said, “These electric vehicles are designed to detect, detect and destroy Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). This vehicle can be driven from a safe distance of up to one kilometer. It can also be used to search for places and gather information.”
Work started while studying
Vignesh, Karthikeyan and Vibhakar met in the year 2012. He has done his B.Tech in Mechatronics from SRM Institute of Science and Technology. In their first year of college, all three had enrolled in a robotics program. Vignesh explains, “In this course, we had to identify a pre-existing problem and create a solution through robotics. All three of us are interested in the Indian Army and that’s why we started research in the defense sector.
In the early years of the course, the trio developed miniature robots that could aid in surveillance. He also built a solar powered single seat vehicle. Vignesh says, “Many of our projects were selected for some college level competitions and some of them we won.” This inspired him to start his own company, after completing his studies in 2016. However, all three needed time to understand what kind of solutions they would develop and at the same time, they were also looking for private investors.
It was necessary to upskill himself to run a business and for this he was admitted to a full-scholarship MBA course by SRM University. Vignesh says, “Till the year 2018, we were doing MBA and at the same time, we were also meeting experts who can give us an idea of what kind of troubles the Indian Army has to face at the ground level.”
hazard detection solutions
By the end of 2018, the three had contacts with a government organization, the Army Design Bureau. This organization has been created to understand the immediate needs of the Indian Army and create solutions through startups or private companies.
Vignesh says, “With the help of this organization, we started to understand the problems of the Indian Army in detail. This included climbing heavy weights, searching for intruders, locating IEDs and much more. Soon, we also got a project from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). We had to make a device that can locate places and monitor/search for unknown objects.”
The team started making UGVs in early 2019 and formally registered their company, Torus Robotics, by the end of 2019. It is located in Ambattur, Chennai.
One of the main challenges the team faced was buying parts to build the vehicle. Most of the parts had to be imported from other countries. This work was not only time consuming, but it was also costly. To avoid the extra cost, all the parts of his vehicle were manufactured in Chennai.
Signed MoU with Government of India
The device is an electric terrain vehicle fitted with a robotic arm. It can pick up unknown things like suitcases or bags and check them for IEDs.
He further adds, “Once the final version is ready, the device is submitted to DRDO, so that its performance can be tested.” After passing all the required tests, displayed at the annual Arrow India Exhibition held in February 2021. At the event, the team signed an MoU with the Government of India to develop an advanced version of the UGV. This UGV will be deployed on the border of India.
This vehicle will be made to relieve the jawans from the burden of lifting heavy goods. This UGV will be designed to carry such equipment, which requires 10 personnel to carry it to a height.
This team is also making batteries for electric vehicles. If you want to know more about him, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original article: Roshni Muthukumar
Editing – G N Jha
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