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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a new initiative through iDEX ADITI Edition 1.0, specifically targeting Indian startups. This challenge seeks the development of a next-generation underwater vehicle – a prototype AUV based on the Indian Navy’s “Jalkapi” design.

The Jalkapi AUV is envisioned as a self-sustaining underwater vehicle capable of extended missions at sea. This initiative aims to leverage Indian expertise to develop a functional prototype that fulfils the following critical requirements:

Advanced Mission Control Software: The core of the AUV is a mission computer equipped with sophisticated software. This software will gather and interpret data from various onboard sensors and make autonomous decisions for vehicle operations, navigation, and mission execution.

Extended Endurance and Fault Management: The AUV must be capable of operating reliably and efficiently for extended durations of 30-45 days at sea, with minimal to no maintenance requirements. The system should incorporate robust fault management mechanisms to address any technical issues that may arise during long deployments.

Sensor Integration and Energy Management: The Jalkapi design specifies the integration of various sensors for the AUV. This challenge calls for seamless integration of these sensors with the overall system. Additionally, the design should incorporate a reliable and efficient power source solution, potentially combining a diesel generator for recharging a Lithium-ion battery pack, to ensure uninterrupted operation throughout the mission.

Autonomous Surface Operations and Data Processing: The AUV should be able to autonomously surface, activate its diesel generator for battery recharge, and then dive back underwater upon completion. The system should also continuously record and analyze sensor data to enable informed decision-making and mission progress monitoring.

Comprehensive Design and Shore Station Support: A detailed design document outlining the vehicle’s physical characteristics and software functionalities is required. Additionally, the development of a shore station with capabilities for position tracking, communication with the AUV, mission monitoring, and data processing is essential for comprehensive mission control.

The iDEX ADITI Edition 1.0 Jalkapi AUV challenge presents a significant opportunity for Indian startups in the defence and marine technology sectors. By successfully developing this advanced AUV prototype, startups can contribute to bolstering the Indian Navy’s underwater surveillance and data collection capabilities. This initiative has the potential to revolutionize underwater exploration and defence strategies for India.

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