GEOSPATIAL INSIGHTS ARE THE NEED OF THE HOUR

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A TECHNOLOGY ANALYST WITH A FASCINATION TOWARDS ANYTHING THAT CAN FLY

A TECHNOLOGY ANALYST WITH A FASCINATION TOWARDS ANYTHING THAT CAN FLY

Anish Pai is a Technology Analyst at Starburst Aerospace. He completed his aeronautical engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology. Anish has always been fascinated by flying objects whether it be paper planes, space crafts, or UFOs and this fascination is what led him to pursue a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT, Manipal. He is also an adventure cyclist, an avid reader and curious to learn about new technologies being built in the 21st Century.

Tell us about your role at Starburst Aerospace

I am a Technology Analyst at Starburst, scouting and sourcing for startups while also supporting the Global Accelerator program here in India.

As an aeronautical engineer, tell us about a few of your innovations in your college days

Early on during my college years, I got the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working on different types of drones and UAVs and learned what goes behind in making these systems for multi-purpose applications. 

 In my third year of college, I had the opportunity to participate in NACDEC (National Aerospace Conceptual design competition) hosted by IIT Bombay and Aeronautical Society of India for which the RFP was building a HALE platform for mapping the changes in the coastline of India. We were a team of two and finished in the first position. Our design was that of a High Altitude Long Endurance UAV with the capability to stay afloat for more than one week.

 During my final year, I worked on a project that eliminated the need for servomechanisms in the control surfaces of an aircraft but was more suited for long-endurance UAVs. This innovation can help in the reduction of over 30% in the structural weight of a UAV wing.

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How does geospatial and remote sensing work in aeronautics? Geospatial technology is currently used in aeronautics for airspace tracking, real-time flight tracking and routing, terrain modeling, weather forecasts & predictions and also has applications in maintenance and security.  Geospatial and remote sensing have also helped tackle old problems such as bird strikes and turbulent weather.   One of the interesting applications which I find fascinating is the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) landing system. The system integrates information from satellite positioning systems (GPS) and ground-based sensors to provide the positional information to the aircraft required for approach and landing guidance.  In my opinion, geospatial and remote sensing can help in better management in both air and ground aircraft operations. As air traffic increases, the geospatial tech would play an important   role in handling the volume of passengers and improve operational efficiencies both in air and on-ground. What do you think will be the future of geospatial in India and why should startups think about venturing into this space? The space startup industry in India whether it be launchers, satellites, AI, robotics… is still in its nascent stages. The space industry is also highly regulated by the government but in recent years we have seen the opening up of the ecosystem to private players more importantly the new-age startups. Until recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was the only entity able to access this industry in India. But now with the New Space policy and reformation of the sector under “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives we are about to see a lot more startups in this domain and also aided by the development of many schemes and grants that have been rolled out to help such startups.   The main challenges faced by startups venturing into the geospatial domain would be regulations, the adaptation of technology by the Indian market and data acquisition. The geospatial or space data in India is very scattered with the lack of a central repository for anyone to pull data.  Over the years the technology development has aided in lower launch costs and ease of accessibility to space, which has further propelled new startups coming up in this domain and we see a lot of startups from India as well who are working towards building such technology. Geospatial insights have become the need of the hour from bringing critical data for defense or security, mapping the environment and risks posed to weather information.