The earliest drones were manually controlled and their performance to a large extent, depended on the skill with which they were flown by controllers on land. This imposed severe limitations on the distance they could fly. Recovering drones that had gone beyond the reach meant keeping them in sight and tracking them as they drifted to the ground. Flying them in adverse wind conditions and smoothly landing them required skills that could only be developed over years of airtime .
When a Hobby Becomes a Passion
Venkatesh Sai is a 22 year old First Generation Student Entrepreneur from Chennai. He has been flying remote control planes from the age of 10 and learnt embedded coding at the age of 15. He won the IIT Mumbai Techfest Aero modelling event in 2009 when in High school and was a UAV System Integrator and a test Pilot for leading R &D organizations like NAL and DRDO even before he completed his schooling.
His passion for creating applications around his core products and technology has resulted in collaborations with Corporate R &D Teams across a range of industries covering Electronics , Automobiles, Agriculture and Mining to name a few.
These assignments also drove home the need to develop control systems that would make drone flying accessible to just about anyone and overcome the limitations that plagued the early generation of drones.
Enter ZUPPA Autopilot
Venkatesh developed the technology for autopilots from the depth of experience gained over several years of flying and coding. He saw that widespread drone usage would only increase when it became very easy to fly drones in all kinds of conditions and environments. Keeping core functionality separated from those developed for specific applications would enable the adoption of features specifically required for different end uses – much like the needs of drone racing and oil pipeline monitoring are vastly different.
In a sense, the autopilot is like the microprocessor that helps the computer to function and is independent of the applications that run on it.
Venkatesh developed ZUPPA Autopilots to fly any type of drone and this is a global first – and unique to India .
In fact ZUPPA today is the only autopilot globally available for commercial drones that can be customized for practically any type of flying – from the smallest racing drones to heavy lift multicopters suitable for Pesticide Spraying and well as for Fixed Wing Plane Types drones for large area mapping for Agriculture Insurance surveys, Crop Health Monitoring, Surveillance, etc …
ZUPPA Autopilots have received technical validation from TIFAC (Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council , Department of Science & Technology , Government Of India) and a range of corporates like Nokia Networks , Sona Koyo Steering Systems Ltd , ESCORTS , Skymet Weather to name a few . His significant Innovation Funding supporters are TANSTIA and TIFAC
Sree Sai Aerotech Innovations Pvt Ltd ( SSAI )a company founded by Venkatesh and his father Sai Pattabiram have Developed and are in the process of launching their Products aimed at employing Drone technology in Agriculture to enhance farm yields and reducing exposure of human’s to harmful pesticides , Herbicides etc .
Made in India with pride
The primary focus of SSAI is the Agricultural Industry both in India and abroad as its products compete easily on technical and commercial terms with other International manufacturers including those from China.
In the Pipeline is a ZUPPA Multispectral Drone that will Disrupt the Global AG Mapping Market with a solution priced at around the $ 1000/- much like the DJI Phantom did to the Aerial Filming Market .
Venkatesh and his company are strongly positioned to emerge as the first Indian company ever at the core of an emerging global technology of Unmanned Vehicles. The market is looking for solutions that are unique and quickly deployable and SSAI is rising to the challenge. Over time, SSAI will seek to produce UAVs completely Made in India to serve India’s defense needs as well.
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