TheNFAPost Podcast

Omnipresent Robot Technology, Delhi-headquartered robotics, industrial UAV/drone and video analytics solutions provider, has made a business impact during the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides helping government enforcement authorities, Omnipresent Robot Technology is supporting India’s defence establishment and ISRO with their products and services. In an interaction with NFAPost N V Vijayakumar, Omnipresent Robot Technology founder and CEO Akash Sinha explain on company’s current strategy to help government and citizens to tide over the calamitous situation in India and company’s other strategies.

Can you give details on various robots that has been deployed during the Covid crisis? What’s the status of these deployments?

We have deployed two products so far against Covid19: 1) Omni-COVID Drone and 2) Omni CCTV Nerve Centre for Delhi Police, Chennai Police, Haryana government and West Bengal government. The products are helping the governments to enforce social distancing and prevent the spread of the disease.

Last week, we helped Delhi police to fly these drones over Dariyaganj and RK Puram to inspect social distancing. Images taken from our drones for Delhi police in central Delhi are pasted below. Details of how they can help in the fight against Covid-19 are given below:

a) Enforce Social Distancing: Our drone has Artificial Intelligence module that can automatically count the crowd and measure the distance between individuals. Announcements can also be carried out using the onboard speakers on our drones.

b) Identification and Isolation of affected individuals: Drones can be used for thermal screening of people without having to risk getting near infected people. Once an individual has been suspected of infection or flouting of social distancing rules, using facial recognition, we can identify, isolate and keep track of them from a safe distance.

c) Rapid testing in Remote areas: Delivery of test kits to anywhere without risking anyone’s health.  

d) Contactless Delivery of Emergency supplies: The same methodology in the previous challenge can be implemented here to deliver medicines and emergency supplies in sealed off areas in a completely contactless manner as well without posing a threat to anyone’s health. Also, our drone can do that quickly with worrying about road or traffic conditions. 

5) Spraying of disinfectants: Large scale disinfectant spraying would be needed on a regular basis to contain the spread of the disease. Our drone would be able to do that even for large cities effectively. Especially public places like parks and religious areas would benefit immensely from this measure; this can be done once every day.

1) Contact Less Attendance/ Entry-Exit system – To curtail the spread of this disease we have introduced Facial Recognition based contact attendance/ entry-exit systems. This solution can be implemented without incurring any extra cost by integrating with the existing CCTV infrastructure at Workplaces, Restaurant, etc.

2) Indoors Social Distancing – Automated counting of humans and measurement of the distance between individuals, can be initiated using the existing CCTV infrastructure for ensuring safekeeping of everyone’s health.

 3) Safety Protocol Implementation – At most workplaces, restaurant, etc. safety mask and other gears like gloves, hair nets, etc. are bound to become a norm for the coming years and adherence to these standards can be ensured using Video Analytics through which deep learning modules can be trained to detect Safety Gear on personnel.

This system is currently being deployed at one of the largest food chains in India and can be rapidly scaled across restaurants and other public places in India

What are some of the changes that you are expecting during the post covid scenario which will help the adoption of robots?

Enforcing social distancing will become a big challenge for the government and police, especially when the lockdown opens up. This is where the upcoming technology of drones, robots, and video analytics can devise a perfect strategy to counter the ordeals of human interventions in daily functions.

Hence, we recommend Drones with artificial intelligence features to avoid direct exposure from Covid-19 of our brave warriors (Doctors/ Nurses/ Medical staff/ Municipality/ Police/ others) while controlling the spread of this pandemic. Nations across the world like China, France, Italy, Kuwait, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, etc. all have deployed drones to control the spread of Covid-19.

Public places like restaurants, schools and religious places would find the use of AI with CCTV camera beneficial to gain client confidence by showing them that they have fool-proof technology to enforce hygiene and social distancing.

Can you share some insights on the challenges that Omnipresent faced in the adoption of robots in defence and various other sectors?

Defence has shown a lot of interest in drones and robots but the conversion of interest to orders has been quite slow. In segments like ecommerce and B2B the key challenge in adoption has been a delay in the implementation of drone regulations by the govt.

But this has changed recently with the new DGCA regulatory framework. We have now received approval for our drones formally by DGCA.  Also, traditionally India has been slow to adopt robots and drones due to availability of a large workforce.

We think Covid19 could change this perspective as minimal human involvement and contact would become a requirement for several businesses and could accelerate the adoption of robots, drones and AI-based video analytics technologies. These technologies could substantially slow the spread of the disease an instil confidence in delivery services.

Omnipresent has formed a consortium with ShopX, and together received formal permission from DGCA to pilot the use of drones in B2B value chains. Together, we are about to pilot and launch our drone-based supply chain for mobile and FMCG categories in urban markets. We believe this use case will address the manpower and logistical challenges on the post-CoVID world.

What will be the strategy of the company going forward?

Contactless delivery and enforcing social distancing and other safety norms would become a fundamental requirement for many businesses in the future to keep a check on the disease spread. 

This would accelerate the adoption of drones, robots and Video analytics post-Covid-19. Omnipresent Robot Technology would like to capitalise with its products and services. We are also giving priority for research and development activities so that the company can stay ahead of the curve.

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