Nokia To Set Up First-ever Innovative Robotics Lab at The Indian Institute of Science


    Nokia has announced a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) to establish a Nokia Centre of Excellence (CoE) for networked robotics. IISc is the country’s leading institute and university for research and higher education in science and engineering. A robotics lab will be set up there for research on socially-relevant use cases based on 5G and emerging technologies.

    Nokia’s senior vice-president, Sanjay Malik, noted that technologies such as 5G have the potential to enable a new array of use cases with societal impact. He also heads the Indian market. He further added, “With Nokia’s rich innovation heritage, we aim to engage with the bright and young minds at IISc to nurture and advance the latest technologies that can benefit communities. We are confident that it will lead to the development of ground-breaking use cases.”

    The Nokia Center of Excellence(CoE), a state-of-the-art network robotics laboratory, will be available to the IISc community and its ecosystem partners. The CoE will promote interdisciplinary research involving robotics, advanced research projects including designing next-generation networks and Artificial Intelligence so as to develop socially relevant solutions for emergency management, agriculture, and industrial automation thus solving pertinent social problems.

    Nokia’s use cases:

    The use cases involve using drones for remote management of agricultural orchards to promote water conservation on farms, avoid human contact with chemicals and to anticipate crop fires. Drones will be using a 5G-enabled wide-area network to gather situational information, aid early responders to save lives by screening the affected areas in times of disaster relief missions.

    Nokia stated that they hope to share their expertise in network innovations and leverage Nokia Bell Labs’ technical expertise in domains like robot orchestration, robot network controller, and human-robot interaction to help the research and development of new use cases. On the other hand, IISc will engage its cross-disciplinary faculty and researchers, and supply in-house expertise in algorithms, drones, and robotic systems.

    The centre will also host events for academia and industry and organize hackathons for start-ups alongside. The centre will promote engagement and cooperation between academia, start-ups, and industry ecosystem partners. This centre supports and aligns with the Government initiative of Start-up India, the company said in a statement.

    In the words of Nidhi Gupta, technology analyst at GlobalData, “Encouraged by the government’s newfound focus on easing norms for flying drones, more businesses are now seeking to develop drone-based capabilities such as deliveries, medical supplies, and movement of packages for air cargo, which indicates the tremendous potential in store for commercial drone applications in the country going forward.”

    Recently, India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) provided fast-track conditional exemptions to government agencies for drone operations in the fight against Covid-19 that opened up avenues for the usage of drones in non-defence applications.

    “The ultimate relevance of technology is to find solutions to improve the quality of our lives”, said G Rangarajan, director of IISc. “Collaboration with a global technology leader, Nokia, will go a long way in helping our students to gain knowledge and insights and make significant contributions to the development of innovative and societally relevant 5G use cases. This is a critical initiative and it will help us move closer to finding technology-powered solutions to enrich our lives.”

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