Under the iDEX concept of the defence ministry, IIT Kanpur will incubate start-ups.

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur’s Start-up Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) has signed an agreement with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) to become a partner incubator for the ministry of defence’s flagship programme Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX-Prime).

The MoU was signed at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on April 22 in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh. Under the terms of the agreement, the institute’s business incubator will provide technical assistance to start-ups working in the field of new defence technologies.

iDEX-Prime will fund start-ups for projects worth up to Rs 10 crore, allowing them to contribute to the country’s growing innovation ecosystem in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), advanced imaging, sensor systems, big data analytics, autonomous unmanned systems, and secure communication.

With a grant of Rs 10 crore, the iDEX Prime initiative is launching with six challenge statements from the armed services for start-ups and innovators to solve. The difficulties are as follows:

· To develop an Al-based Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for identifying and marking mines in a minefield

· To develop Advanced Truss Bridges

· To develop 11m ‘all electric’ Work Boat

· To develop an Automated Celestial Navigation system

· To make Expendable Active Decoys

· To develop Signals Intelligence System for Hilly Terrain and High-Altitude Area

IIT Kanpur, as one of the program’s partner incubators, will assist companies in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced imaging, sensor systems, big data analytics, autonomous unmanned systems, and secure communication in achieving the six stated objectives.

“The iDEX programme is a remarkable initiative by the defence ministry to achieve ‘Atmanirbharata’ in our defence sector through multi-stakeholder collaboration,” stated Abhay Karandikar, director of IIT Kanpur. IIT Kanpur is honoured to be a significant partner incubator in DIO’s iDEX-Prime programme, which helps start-ups achieve their objectives. This collaboration will undoubtedly benefit our institute’s infrastructure and research and development pool, allowing us to make significant progress toward establishing a ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in the defence sector.”

The iDEX initiative of the Ministry of Defense aims to create an ecosystem that encourages multidisciplinary research and development (R&D) institutes, universities, corporations, start-ups, and innovators to support innovation and technological development in the defence industry. The programme is a crucial step toward the Indian military achieving self-sufficiency.

“It is an honour to be cooperating with Armed Innovation Organisation and joining hands for a shared purpose of enabling innovation to attain self-sufficiency for Indian defence services,” said Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, PIC, Innovation and Incubation, IIT Kanpur. I’m ecstatic about this collaboration, and I’m hoping that the IIT Kanpur start-up ecosystem can do credit to it by promoting and leveraging innovation in the defence sector.”

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