Paras Aerospace is set to unveil an indigenously developed, affordable multi-spectral camera for UAVs for applications in agriculture, urban development and forest survey. Paras Aerospace is a subsidiary of Paras Defence and Space Technologies Limited, a progressive tier 2 defence engineering company in India.
Paras Aerospace offers a wide range of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or ‘drone’) integrations and UAV-based services in aerial mapping & surveying, GIS and infrastructure. Paras has now embarked on a mission to reduce the selling price of high-end mapping UAVs by indigenously developing the multi-spectral cameras to ensure that they can be used by a wide range of customers, including farmers.
Pankaj Akula, CEO of Paras Aerospace, said: “UAVs have wider applications in the industrial and civilian sectors beyond the traditional military sector. Today, UAV-based services are used in highway mapping, urban planning, construction monitoring, maintenance of airports, dams, the energy sector, forestry and plant inspection. In fact, UAV-based services can even be extended to the agriculture sector to assist farmers. However, the costs are still high. Hence, we are indigenously developing cameras for agricultural use at an estimated sales price of less than US$4,000 per unit.”
Indian drone ambitions
Paras Defence and Space Technologies Limited has extensive experience in optics and opto-mechanical assemblies, including in various projects of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Satellite imagery is a source that is being used for agri-mapping but the pricing level for higher-resolution images as well as issues associated with cloud cover currently limit its full utility. Paras is offering an affordable aerial mapping alternative using UAVs for agri applications that can be flown under the clouds and achieving higher resolution using low-cost multi-spectral cameras.
“The government intends to make India the drone capital of the world. We want to play a significant role in this initiative. We also believe in a self-reliant India to cater to the local and international market. Our products will be available in the market shortly,” Pankaj added.
To underline the ambitions and in view of a growing demand for UAV operators in India, Paras recently announced the launch of a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in drone operations management for students. The government estimates that there are currently 40,000 drones in the country and expects that number to reach one million over the next five years, which will require a very large number of drone pilots. Paras aims to facilitate this by providing courses for free.