A marine drone that fetches waste from the sea and a software that speeds up cost estimation of roadworks are part of the State government’s foray into the vibrant startup ecosystem.
The government on Friday signed Letters of Intent with 24 startups for work orders worth Rs. 15 lakh as part of the Maharashtra Start up Week. Over 2,000 participants had made a pitch for their innovations at the event. The shortlisted startups will collaborate with the government over the next few months and work closely in areas such as infrastructure, healthcare, defence and the environment.
A nodal officer has been appointed in each government department to support the startups in carrying out the projects. Aseem Gupta, Secretary, Skill Development Department, said, “We are excited to tie up with these innovative products. We hope with support from the government, the startups will succeed and become future unicorns and entrepreneurs.”
18 from Maharashtra
Minister for Labour and Skill Development Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar said the most exciting part of the startup week was that 18 of the 24 shortlisted firms are based out of Maharashtra. “We now want this startup ecosystem to spread even to the rural areas,” he said.
Among the innovators who have bagged a contract is Mumbai-based Sagar Defence Engineering. The startup will provide the environment department with Unmanned Marine Surface Vehicles, which will collect waste in the city’s water bodies before tides, wind and currents carry it out to the open ocean. Trashfin, a fully autonomous marine drone, will swim through rivers and the sea collecting waste and other non-biodegradable material, up to 350 kg in a single sortie. The drone works on an autopilot technology and uses navigational instruments and telemetry systems to be effective in urban and rural settings. The drone, which can gather marine data, has already begun operations on a test basis on Aksa Beach in Malad.
Modelled on the shark
Kanishka Vardhan Namdeo, chief technical officer at Sagar Defence Engineering, said, “The drone is designed for round-the-clock autonomous waste collection. It also scans and monitors the environment, sending data back to the central command and communicating with other drones in the water. It can tackle massive garbage clean-ups [often seen after heavy storms, winds or flooding]. Modelled on the biggest fish, the whale shark, our drones are designed to be efficient, long lasting, non-threatening and unobtrusive. We are very excited to work with the Maharashtra government.”
Cost estimation made easy
The government has also given a contract to Maker’s Adda, which has created a software, Estabil, to help junior engineers reduce the time taken for cost estimation of road projects from three months to just a few hours. Parikshit and Anant Jadhav, brothers based in Nashik, said they designed the software after they were dumbfounded to find out that a junior engineer in Public Works Department prepared the cost estimation depending on a manual list of 35,000 items. The duo got down to codifying the items constituting the PWD’s complex District Schedule Rate and came up with Estabil.
Anant Jadhav said, “We failed to understand why someone would depend on a British-era quantitative mechanism to draw up mere estimates. These templates depended on calculated guesswork to determine the cost of constructing a road of a certain length. With Estabil, a junior engineer has to only enter the length, width and gutter specifications of the road project to receive the right estimates.”
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