IIGP 2.0 Winner, IROV Technologies, Develops India’s First Underwater Robotic Drone

Kochi-based startup IROV Technologies, a recent winner of IIGP 2.0 Open Innovation Challenge 2018 has developed India’s first commercial underwater robotic drone to perform visual surveys of submerged structures and environments. Named EyeROV Tuna, the robotic vehicle could potentially eliminate the need for underwater manual inspection by divers, which is both costly, and risky.

EyeROV Tuna is a micro ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) that is capable of working up to a depth of 100 meters for over 3 operational hours with a cruise speed of 2-knots. Through its 6000 lumens LED lights, it can send real-time HD videos and images of underwater environments to its controllers on land. The capabilities of this promising innovation open up a wide range of applications in rescue operations, defense, and R&D activities.

Recently, EyeROV Tuna landed its first order from the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), a DRDO facility. In a proud moment for IROV Technologies, the robotic device was handed over to NPOL Director Mr. S. Kedarnath Shenoy in September 2018, and will be used for various underwater research operations.

Adding yet another feather to its cap, IROV Technologies was recognized by the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) as the ‘Promising Avionics & Defence Startup of the Year’ at the recently held SPACETRONICS & DEFTRONICS Awards Ceremony in September 2018.

IIGP 2.0 is proud to provide a platform to support Indian innovators in their entrepreneurial journey, and accelerate innovative Indian technologies into the global marketplace. It is extremely encouraging to see the progress made by IROV Technologies, and we look forward to working with them to drive transformation of India’s industrial sector.

Genrobotic Innovations – Winner of IIGP 2.0, Aims to Eliminate the Practice of Manual Scavenging

Kerela-based startup Genrobotic Innovations, a recent winner of IIGP 2.0 Open Innovation Challenge 2018 aims to potentially eliminate the age-old deadly and inhuman practice of manual scavenging in India with their groundbreaking innovation – Bandicoot.

Bandicoot is a spider-shaped robotic exoskeleton with a 7-machine vision to operate with surgical precision, and is capable of replacing a human inside a manhole or sewer. It can collect up to 20 litres of sewage in 20 seconds, and later dump all the garbage into a collecting bucket – with a user controlling its actions from a safe distance.

Despite a ban on employment of manual scavengers in India, the act of manually cleaning of sewages and drains is still prevalent across the country. This is so, because of multitude of reasons, including but not limited to, the lack of viable alternatives and the age-old practice of caste discrimination. With Bandicoot, Genrobotic Innovations provides a safe and stable solution.

In recent years, there has been a sharp spike in deaths of sewer workers. Estimated 1500 sewer workers or more have lost their lives since the ban on manual scavenging was imposed in 2013. According to the latest data by IndiaSpend, a data journalism initiative, as many as 102 workers died in 2017 alone while cleaning sewer lines. Additionally, nearly 23,000 men and women in India die every year doing various kinds of sanitation work. These numbers point to a grave state of affairs in the country, which Genrobotic Innovations aims to mitigate through their innovative technological solution. In addition to addressing the safety of workers, the team also envisions a better quality of life for workers by educating and equipping them to operate Bandicoot.

We are extremely proud to share that the team at Genrobotic Innovations recently launched the fully automated version Bandicoot 2.0, on 2nd October 2018, at the recently held Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) in New Delhi in the presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres.

IIGP 2.0 is proud to recognize and support social innovations such as Bandicoot that have the potential to improve the quality of life of the marginalized communities and create lasting social impact. We wish the team at the Genrobotic Innovations all the success in their incredible journey and look forward to working with them.


The Week, Bandicoot robot—a Kerala startup’s answer to centuries-old manual scavenging, March 2018

IndiaSpend, Four Reasons India Can Look Forward To 2018, January 2018

Indiatimes, Sewer Story: Death Of Sanitation Workers In Delhi Exposes The Hypocrisy & Failure Of Govt, October 2017

IIGP 2.0 Stakeholder Interview Series (Part 1): Q & A With Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India

The India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0 is a tripartite initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, Lockheed Martin and Tata Trusts. Through its eminent stakeholders and implementation partners, the IIGP 2.0 aims to foster innovation-led entrepreneurship in the country.

We interviewed each of the programme stakeholders to gather their thoughts on the current state of India’s startup ecosystem, and how the IIGP 2.0 is uniquely poised to nurture and drive transformational change of India’s entrepreneurial economy.

Lockheed Martin has been a sponsor of the India Innovation Growth Programme since its launch in 2007. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a premier systems integrator and global security enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

The following are excerpts from our conversation with Mr. Phil Shaw, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India.

What do you think about the current startup ecosystem in India?

Through the India Innovation Growth Programme, Lockheed Martin’s been supporting the Indian startup ecosystem for more than a decade and it’s never been stronger. But we’ve seen a surge in interest since the Indian government commenced the Start Up India initiative.

That interest in entrepreneurialism is growing globally too, but there’s a tremendous ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit in India that we want to help foster.

Why is there a need for a program like IIGP?

The India Innovation Growth Programme is unique in that it connects start-ups with industry, academia and government and supports them whilst they’re finding their feet. It’s about helping innovators and entrepreneurs make their concepts a reality – taking them from idea, to a product and onto manufacturing.  

In turn, that will help enhance the growth and development of India’s entrepreneurial economy and accelerate innovative new Indian ideas into markets in the United States and around the world.

How is IIGP different from the other Programs?

The India Innovation Growth Programme is unique in its longevity. Lockheed Martin has been backing this initiative for more than a decade and it’s the longest running public-private partnership in India.

The other way it differs is its focus on teaching and using world-class commercialisation strategies. IIGP has enabled new ideas to cross international borders as we recognize, reward and promote the tremendous entrepreneurial spirit that exists in India. The program fully aligns with the Government of India’s Innovation and Start-up Missions and is committed to supporting as many entrepreneurs in India as possible.

How has IIGP evolved in the last decade?

We launched the India Innovation Growth Programme in 2007 and, recognizing its potential, the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology joined us as a co-sponsor soon after its inception.

In 2017 we announced the launch of IIGP 2.0 when we were joined in this program by a new partner, Tata Trusts, one of the most distinguished philanthropic institutions in India.  Our new partner helps IIGP specifically to support innovations to address social challenges.

The program has been restructured to better nurture the Indian innovation ecosystem by providing incubation support, including seed funding for start-up businesses to enhance their success, thus addressing a critical gap faced by innovators and entrepreneurs.

But the most visible way the program has evolved is in the number of applicants the scheme receives each year. From approximately 100 applications received in 2007, we’re now seeing over 3000 applications a decade on.

How is IIGP changing the current startup ecosystem in India? How you believe is IIGP bringing a positive change in India?

Simply put, we think the India Innovation Growth Programme is the flagship initiative for encouraging new ideas and entrepreneurialism and it has changed the fabric of India’s start-up scene.

Since launch of the IIGP program in 2007, more than 7,000 innovative technologies have been evaluated and we have provided over 400 Indian innovators with in-depth technology, commercial training and business development support.  An Ernst and Young report commissioned in 2015 concluded that IIGP had been responsible for generating revenue of INR 5,239 crore (approx. US$ 860 million) for the participating companies – that’s likely to have exceeded US$1bn three years later.  In addition, more than 500 individual business engagements agreements have been signed – connecting innovators to industry partners.

What should applicants expect out of IIGP?

The possibility that they can turn their ideas into reality. The entrepreneurs who have nurtured their innovations and creative applications are now ready to take them to the next level.  This is perhaps the most gratifying part of the program, to see the tremendous potential that begins to take shape as business deals are signed.

Do you have any message for the current and future participants?

I’d like to congratulate our entrepreneurs who will be taking this critical next step today and offer strong words of encouragement to those whose big opportunity is waiting just around the corner.  I wish you all the very best.

Winners of IIGP 2.0 Open Innovation Challenge 2018 Announced

Following a rigorous weeklong bootcamp at IIM Ahmedabad, the 50 finalists of the IIGP 2.0 Open Innovation Challenge 2018 presented their innovations to an expert jury panel at an Innovators Competition on 1-2 August 2018 in New Delhi. The 4 top teams from the previous year’s University Challenge also competed alongside the 50 finalists. Based on their performance, the jury panel comprising of industry experts and IIGP 2.0 stakeholders announced 16 teams (8:social, 8:industrial) as winners of the Open Innovation Challenge 2018. The winners of both the University Challenge and Open Innovation Challenge 2018 were felicitated at a grand awards ceremony in New Delhi on 2nd August 2018 where Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) graced the ceremony as the chief guest. 

Prior to the main awards ceremony, key leaders from the Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem were brought together on the same platform for a panel discussion on “Innovation and Start-up Ecosystem in India”. Mr. Anand Sudarshan, Chair, FICCI Start-up Committee & Founder, Sylvant Advisors chaired the esteemed panel, which included panelists such as:

  • Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Govt. of India
  • Mr. Harkesh Mittal, Adviser, Member Secretary National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India
  • Mr. Ganesh Neelam, Executive Director – CINI, Associate Director, Tata Trusts and Director, Social Alpha
  • Dr. Robie Samanta Roy, Vice President, Technology and Innovation, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Mr. Deepak Bagla, Managing Director and CEO, Invest India
  • Ms. Anna Roy, Adviser (DM&A, Industry), NITI Aayog  

The Open Innovation Challenge of IIGP 2.0 aims to enhance the growth and development of India’s entrepreneurial economy by training innovators in world-class commercialization strategies, offering support for incubation and assist in business development, ultimately taking innovative Indian technologies to the global marketplace. This year’s winners represent start-up businesses with outstanding innovations that have the potential to generate economic and social value for the nation.

In addition to the grant funding of INR 25 Lacs each awarded to the winners, the IIGP 2.0 will continue to nurture their innovations through opportunities for participation at demo days and international exposure visits amongst other non-financial benefits. 


Winners of IIGP 2.0 University Challenge 2018 Announced

At the recently concluded IIGP 2.0 University Challenge Downselect Competition, the Top 40 student teams presented their innovations to an expert jury panel at IIT Bombay over 29 – 30 June 2018. Based on their performance, the top 15 teams (7:social; 8:industrial) have been selected as winners of the IIGP 2.0 University Challenge 2018. These winning teams represent the best from leading universities in the Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III cities in India.

Through the University Challenge, IIGP 2.0 aims to nurture and develop the innovation ecosystem across universities in India, giving aspiring young minds a platform to create high quality and commercially viable solutions. We are extremely pleased with the overwhelming response from students this year, and are excited to see how the winners will take India’s development story into the future.

The winning teams will be felicitated at a grand awards ceremony at New Delhi on 2nd August 2018.