Neel Mehta and Nihar Vartak founded Asteria Aerospace over 10 years ago, with the idea of developing drones for defence applications. The two developed and sold drones to the Indian military, paramilitary, and state police forces, who used the services for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. The liberalization of drones in 2021 encouraged the two to become more ambitious. Last year, Asteria launched a drone operations and analytics platform called SkyDeck, which helps to streamline the delivery of Drone-as-a-Service solutions for diverse applications.
Asteria has IP across the drone tech stack – hardware, software, and analytics. “We design and manufacture multiple drone platforms ranging from 2kg to 25 kg. They are easy to use, they are rugged, and performance driven,” says Neel. Their drones, he says, can be used across industrial applications, such as surveillance and security, land surveys, agricultural surveys as well as inspection of critical assets like pipelines, powerlines, and telecom towers. SkyDeck helps in seamlessly managing the planning & execution of drone flights, data processing, visualization, and analytics to provide business insights from drone data. It enables AI-based analysis of drone data, ensuring easier and faster decision-making.
Today, Asteria has a team of more than 300 people, out of which more than 60 are in R&D. In 2019, Reliance Industries’ arm Jio Platforms acquired a majority stake in Asteria. Mehta says there are lots of opportunities to innovate in drone solutions using emerging technologies, such as 5G, AI, edge/cloud computing, fuel cells, and advanced sensors.
Mehta says there are lots of opportunities to innovate in drone solutions using emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, edge/cloud computing, fuel cells, and advanced sensors. Courtesy: The Times of India