Published: 06th April 2020
From spraying disinfectant to drone patrols, here's how T-Hub incubated start-up is fighting COVID-19
Developed by Marut Dronetech, whose founders were recently included in the list of the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30, these drones can even deliver medicines and help with crowd control as well
Innovation is key to combat the pandemic that we have found ourselves in the middle of. Robot nurses, low-cost ventilators, social distancing devices — there is already a lot happening out there. Another innovation is drones that spray disinfectants and one of the players in this field is Marut Dronetech. Incubated at T-Hub, the founders of this start-up Prem Kumar Vislawath, Suraj Peddi, and Sai Kumar Chinthala even earned a place for themselves in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, certainly a matter of pride for Telangana. This is how a journey that started in 2018 to use drone technology to combat mosquito menace is now, proving to be a boon in the times of Coronavirus as well.
The trio | (Pic: Marut Dronetech)
Karimnagar comes forward
It was Karimnagar district of Telangana, which previously have utilised the power of drones for night patrolling, checking illegal sand mining and such, turned to drones again. "It wasn't easy to convince the government. We had to offer multiple demonstrations and there were multiple tests before they could agree," shares Prem Kumar Vislawath, Founder, Marut Dronetech. It was in Mukarampura area of Karimnagar that 10 Indonesians and others were tested positive for COVID-19 so the Marut COVID19 drones were used to survey these and other 'red zones' and spray disinfectants too, as per the orders of the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation. These customised drones can carry 10 liters of disinfectants, covering an area of 20 km per day.
Thermal imaging | (Pic: Marut Dronetech)
Marut Dronetech is also offering other extensive solutions like drone patrol teams that can help with crowd control and dismiss gatherings. They can also serve as public announcements when fitted with cameras and speakers. If a specimen cotton swab is kept near the field of view of the drone fitted with its thermal camera, the camera can offer an accurate reading. Drones can also be used for delivery of medicines and critical supplies, these drones are capable of covering more than 12 km in eight minutes and are 80 times faster than other delivery methods.
It all started with a lake near the residence of Prem's parents, who live about 40 km further from Gachibowli. The lake was often teeming with mosquitos and even upon writing several letters to the municipal corporator of the area, they received no response. "In fact, the officials encouraged us to come up with a solution ourselves," says Prem. By that time, Prem was already working in Raasta Studios since 2012, a video production house in Hyderabad, and was well-versed with the usage of drones. Prem got together with Suraj and Sai Kumar to design an IoT device that identifies mosquito type, gender and density in the area it is installed and sends real-time data to the AI platform. The AI platform designs maps as per the aforementioned criterion and identifies high-risk and low-risk areas using predictive analysis. Then the fully-automated drone, Marut ZAP, sprays biolarvicide in the particular areas.
Spot the drone | (Pic: Marut Dronetech)
More to offer
Their drones also offer other services like a seed ball-dropping drone called Marut GRO to help increase afforestation and a pesticide-spraying Marut Agri so that farmers don't have to do it themselves. Because of all their contributions, they have won awards and praises. Apart from the Forbes 30 Under 30 accolade, they have had the honour to be mentored by the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH). "We are humbled by all the praise that we are receiving and we are glad we could help integrate technology to help mankind in our own small way," says the alumni of IIT Guwahati. They are a team of 16 full-time workers and additionally, about 12 members work with them as consultants.
Hovering over | (Pic: Marut Dronetech)
Come June, the mosquito season will commence and Prem hopes that they are able to scale up their operations to another three municipalities for their mosquito-borne disease prediction and eradication system. Meanwhile, they are doing all they can to help in these testing times.
To know more about them, check out marutdrones.com