It’s Made In India. A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) with multiple civil and military applications ranging from detecting mines to removing garbage deep in the sea, is planned to be commercially launched in a year.
The unmanned vehicle can scan the sea surface in both shallow and deep waters. It can go up to a depth of 6,000 metres and transmit high resolution photos and data. In shallow waters it can see up to a depth of 500 metres.
For the Indian Navy it is considered of strategic importance. ROVs have been field-tested to map coral reef biodiversity in Andaman and Nicobar Islands a few years ago. The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC)’s Visakhapatnam-based Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre and Technology Innovation Support Centre marketed the technology and facilitated the signing of an agreement between NIOT and L&T Defence recently.
NRDC Chairman and Managing Director H. Purushotham told The Hindu on Thursday that L&T Defence would roll out the first vehicle in nine to 12 months. Each vehicle will cost Rs. 25 crore to Rs. 30 crore.
He said the Navy would benefit by detecting mines planted by enemies and undertake exploring the mineral wealth in the oceans. In future, he said export of ROVs would be explored to tap overseas demand.
Dr. Purushotham said the low-cost buoyant apparatus developed by NIOT could also be deployed in water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal areas. The vehicle is equipped with sensors and one of the functions is garbage removal.
The technology will be licensed for 10 years. “It will be non-exclusive with recurring royalty and a lumpsum technology transfer fee.” Dr. Purushotham said but declined to give details. During field tests, the ROV had taken images of corals useful for developing algorithms to map the coral reefs using sensing techniques, especially satellite remote sensing.
Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahu, scientist in-charge of NRDC Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre and Technology Innovation Support Centre-Vizag, said they were promoting innovation, IPR and technology transfer activities among MSMEs, startups, industries, academia and universities in the region.