NEW DELHI :
AI and Robotics Technology Park (ARTPARK), an Indian government-funded not-for-profit organization, opened on Monday an ‘Innovation Lab’ at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru to provide support to researchers and startups working in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics with the aim of helping them build products that are ready to go to market.
The lab will focus on three areas—digital and physical connectivity using 5G and drones, making healthcare services available at people’s doorsteps, and using AI for inclusive learning.
“In the age of AI, knowledge will be everywhere. Students won’t have to cram information anymore and can focus on applying it to create things. Similarly, healthcare should be available everywhere and not just in hospitals,” said Umakant Soni, chief executive officer of ARTPARK.
Soni said startups currently struggle to take technology from labs to the market, which is a key gap for the industry.
“Primarily, we are trying to create successful companies out of India which will solve problems, create jobs, and ultimately export to the world,” said Subhashis Banerjee, chief information officer of ARTPARK.
The lab has technical teams working in collaboration with multiple labs at IISc. It will also work with other technical institutes and bodies, including the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Jodhpur, the University of Aalto in Finland, Indian Council of Medical Research and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
“Our Indian academics have produced talent that now heads several leading tech companies. The next phase of growth requires that we encourage such talent to stay in India and convert their research into products and companies. Then only we will grow from a $3 trillion to $10 trillion economy,” Soni added. To support startups and products incubated at labs, ARTPARK has set aside a $100 million fund. “Once we convert the research that is happening into interesting products and companies, then we will support them with the $100 million venture fund over a period of 10-12 years,” said Soni. The fund will be backed by the government, private companies, and VCs.
Though the fund was announced last year, it is still pending clearance from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). “We are waiting for final approval from Sebi. Hopefully, it will be formally launched by the end of this month. We have already started shortlisting companies working on connectivity, healthcare, and education,” he added. Founded in 2020 by IISc, ARTPARK has received ₹170 crore in funding from the Union government’s Department of Science and Technology and ₹60 crore from the Karnataka government. One of the first products developed at the labs is an autonomous drone ambulance, a scale model for which was unveiled at the 1st ARTPARK Innovation Summit on Monday.
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