An increasingly popular stealth craft with an origin in defence, drones have been gaining proliferating presence and are slowly, miraculously turning out to be the verbs of a scientific mind! According to PwC, world Drone market is seen nearing $127 Billion in 2020.
While a lot of startups are budding in the “Technology of Drone” addressing various civilian applications like agriculture, mapping to asset monitoring as services , there’s one Indian startup founded by a father-son duo that has penetrated the very core of Drone technology - its brain, the “Autopilot”, thus challenging the international highly funded Global Drone Manufacturing giants like DJI of China and 3D Robotics of US by creating the world’s first Drone motherboard.
This father & son duo, a team of extremely passionate, first generation entrepreneurs have created the most unique Drone Autopilot ever by which electronically flies the drone like a human would.
Their vision is based on the fact that a technology's highest value is at its core , the further a business model is from the core, the lower its value .
Mr.Venkatesh Sai, the brain behind the Autopilot, is a student entrepreneur in his final year of Engineering and a technical prodigy. He is a pioneer in Control Computing and believes it will emerge as a completely independent form of computing. His Zuppa autopilots are a testimony to efficiency and cost effectiveness of his unique patent pending Distributed Parallel Control Computing system that make them the world’s first User Friendly and APP expandible .
“Zuppa”(pronounced ‘super’), their outstanding venture consists of a versatile technology that shall emerge to be the world’s first drone motherboard. “This seems to be a natural extension of the dual trends towards more specific architecture for purpose and natural or accidental mimicry of biological systems. 3 billion years of system optimisation for survival is hard to argue with.” says Joseph Owens on a very highly technical discussion concerning ZUPPA’s technology on DIY Drones the Global Drone technology forum.
Zuppa’s unique technology is explained in very simple terms by Venkatesh with the analogy of riding a bike on Indian roads. “All the obstacles we avoid when going from Adyar to Chennai Central are done by the reflex part of our nervous system without thinking too much while the route planning is handled by the thinking part of the same nervous system and both work in parallel not one after the other.”
Likewise, ZUPPA emulates exactly that electronically its Kinematic Control unit (KCU) handles (reflex actions) and the Interface and Higher Operations unit (IHOU) handles (route planning , Application management etc.)
Every package comprises of a Zuppa Auto Pilot, a neo M8N GPS module, power module, downloadable GCS (ground control station) software, wireless bluetooth modules to interface an external device like a laptop and downloadable software development kit(SDK).
The company plans to release APPs on its APP Store that can be downloaded and run on standard SOC’s like Raspberry PI and interfaced to its Zuppa motherboards through its ZAIP interface platform.
“This model is sure to disrupt the way drones are manufactured much like the easy availability of PC motherboards did during the late 1990’s where PC’s could pretty much be assembled by anyone with some DIY system integration skills.” says Sai Pattabiram.
The Company is already looking at global partnerships that would deliver ready to fly Applications specific solutions much like it does in India .
When asked if they had received any weird calls, Sai Pattabiram says “Every purchase enquiry is fulfilled only after verification of his/her ID. Once, we got a call from someone in Pakistan whom we turned down. There was another who turned up claiming he was from the Army. He never turned up after I asked for an ID proof.”
The company has also bagged seed funding from TIFAC-SIDBI (Revolving Fund for Technology Innovation) a scheme that provides financial assistance to MSME's (micro small and medium enterprises) who are gearing up towards development, upscaling, demonstration and commercialisation of innovative technology based products.