IIT Kanpur-based Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS), an unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) startup, has raised an undisclosed amount from StartupXseed Ventures, 3ONE4 Capital (a family fund of Mr Mohandas Pai), The Phoenix Fund and HNIs including, Ashok Atluri and Sanjay Jesrani.
Founded in 2013 by Nikhil Upadhye, Suhas Banshiwala, Vipul Singh and Yeshwanth Reddy, AUS offers solution in the industrial and agricultural asset management space leveraging drone technology. AUS is a YourStory Tech30 company.
“We will use the funding in product development and team expansion. We offer faster, more cost-effective and highly enriched UAV-based land surveying solutions for the civil engineering, infrastructure and utility industries. Using the drone technology, we can offer precision agriculture solutions to optimize irrigation, fertilization, pesticide distribution and early failure warnings. This technology opens a plethora of solutions in various sectors,” says Nikhil Upadhye, CEO, Aarav Unmanned Systems.
He adds that the startup is incubated at the SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre (SIIC) at IIT-Kanpur. A common interest in aero-modeling and robotics brought the AUS team together. The team designs and develops UAV-based solutions using proprietary drone technology. The product range includes Nayan, an R&D platform for indoor navigation, and other upcoming application oriented platforms with fully autonomous operations, lightweight and rapid deployment capabilities.
The startup is currently providing 3D mapping solutions to mining and urban planning sector, thermal and live aerial inspection solutions to power sector and NDVI-based solutions to agriculture sector.
On funding, B.V.Naidu, Managing Partner, Startup Xseed Ventures, says, “StartupXseed felt AUS team has right composition to deliver the business in drone technology area. This Technology will become important in coming years and we are keen to encourage domestic product for Indian markets and acquire global business.” AUS has been working with Enablers and Naisha Advisors for the fund raising.
In the past few years, drone technology has gone through major ups and downs, from the adoption of technology by companies in aerial photography to a sudden clampdown. In October 2014, a Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) notice said the operation of UAVs will require approval from the Air Navigation service provider, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, and other concerned security agencies, in addition to the DGCA. AUS has to take these permissions when it does any of its projects.
In other parts of world too governments are trying to regulate the UAVs. US' Federal Aviation Administration say unregistered drone users could now face fines as high as $250,000 for flying their UAVs or the possibility of up to three years in jail.
It’s true that the Indian government can’t afford to give free-hand to fly drones as they can be misused and can be a security threat. However, red tape needs to go as drones have multiple practical uses. We hope a comprehensive regulatory policy is introduced soon so that startups and those who have genuine use for drones do not suffer.