Indian startups are making a foray into defence sector.A unit under Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Security Guard (NSG) has decided to induct some of the smartest gadgets and arms being used by SWAT teams and Special Forces, all over the world.
A few years back, the defence sector of India comprised of few big players. But, the startup wave has given a new direction, and today most of the new technologies are being introduced by innovative startups.
IoTIndiaMag lists down two startups are making remarkable progress in the landscape with their innovative IoT technologies and sensor-based solutions. CRON Systems and Tonbo Imaging are redefining the defence landscape with breakthrough solutions.
Bangalore startup Tonbo Imaging partners with Indian military
This Bengaluru-based startup, founded in 2008, partners with Indian military to deploy sophisticated technology, which can detect and visualize objects in all types of conditions. Arvind Lakshmikumar, CEO, Tonbo Imaging says, “We are helping them with night-vision technology and night-vision equipment to make our bases more secure.”
Tonbo specializes in imaging technology, especially thermal imaging, which provides enhanced vision in low-light conditions using heat signatures. The same technology has won the organization business deals in the defence landscape with armed forces within India and abroad.
Tonbo also provides products like advanced night-vision cameras, fire control systems, and drone reconnaissance using thermal imaging. Interestingly, DARPA, US Navy SEALs, and US Special Operations Command have snapped Tonbo’s unique products.
With 100 employees across three offices – India, Singapore, and the US, their market spans Singapore, US, Taiwan, France, Greece, UK, Canada, and Peru. Their systems not only guarantee ease-of-use, but also integrate with other systems without much hassle. The organization is currently working on a project which involves fortifying of Pathankot.
Tonbo supplies advanced vision systems using sensors
The startup also makes driver vision systems for self-driving cars. This enables an automobile to identify obstacles, while driving through fog, rain, and other bad weather conditions. I CRPF, NSG, and the Army Northern Command are some of the prominent clients that the firm deals with. The firm recently forwarded its advanced vision system products for the Indian Army’s Arjun battle tanks. This will provide the soldiers with a clearer tank vision, even during bad weather conditions. The sensors used in the system are equally effective in day and night operations.
Tonbo’s focus on core tech
Tonbo Imaging stays ahead of the race by focusing on core technology. The startup designed its night-vision cameras with “multiple fusion sensors,” which use both thermal and visible fusion. Their design process behind cameras, enables the user to perceive better.
In other words, the organization focuses more on the designing bit, while outsourcing the “non-core” activities like manufacturing. This allows Tonbo imaging to be 50 percent cheaper than their nearest competitors. “All our cameras are built on Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The same chip which powers your mobile phone is what powers our night vision devices,” explains Lakshmikumar.
CRON System is working on a Driverless truck for the army
CRON was co-founded in 2015 by Tushar Chhabra, Saurav Agarwala, and Tommy Katzenellenbogen in New Delhi. The IoT-based startup combines its expertise surrounding deep research in lasers, data, artificial intelligence, encrypted communications, and automation to provide accurate and seamless laser-guided intruder detection infrastructure.
An integrated intrusion detection and smart fencing solution comprising laser walls, surveillance drones, and a command and control dashboard connected with an independent and encrypted communication network are some of CRON’s key enterprise offerings.
CRON is currently working on a driverless truck, which can be used by the army to fetch troops back after a surgical strike in enemy land or for operations in other hostile locations. “We are about six months away from the first prototype being available on the ground. We intend to do a pilot before December this year. We will have a fully functional product up and running by the first quarter next year,” mentions Tushar Chhabra, CEO, CRON Systems.
CRON will build autonomous capabilities into existing trucks, that can easily reach the soldiers during an emergency, without any human involvement. Moreover, driverless trucks will also reduce casualty by replacing soldiers at intrusion points during search operations. Chhabra says, “Autonomous trucks can help ‘jawans’ figure out the best routes and give them zero-visibility driving capability.”
Furthermore, the startup has developed an offline mapping system for trucks, where laser walls at the border will be used as pointers for the trucks to communicate and drive forward. The offline mapping system will have a really crucial role, as satellite maps can’t be used at borders. Most of backend technology for driverless trucks has already been developed by CRON. The firm is currently in advanced talks with two of the biggest defense automobile manufactures in India to use the technology in their trucks.
CRON extends its laser-guided surveillance systems to Israel’s defense market
Besides India, CRON is also undertaking initiatives and projects, pertaining to the defense sector outside India. The firm recently announced an exclusive technology agreement with an Israeli defense robotics company, Automotive Robotic Industry Ltd (ARI). Through this partnership, ARI plans to integrate its rovers with CRONs laser-guided surveillance systems.
The collaboration between both the firms could drastically improve the way the nation’s borders are guarded. Machines can act as eyes on the ground, thereby reducing risk to the life of thousands of soldiers. Amos Goren, Founder, ARI Ltd. adds, “ARI develops the most advanced mission-oriented autonomous ground vehicles (AGV). While CRON surveillance system will be the mind and eye, ARI rovers will be its troops to respond to intrusions.”
Moreover, this merger opens up the $50-billion international market for CRON. “We want to contribute in defense forces’ equipment and weapons modernization drive. We can make a number of existing defense products smart and automated,” concludes Chhabra.