Pune-based startup Navstik—one of the few high tech startups in the fast growing space of next-generation platform for commercial drone applications—was adjudicated the winner at PuneConnect 2015, the startup event of Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP).
The winning entry, Flyt, allows drone-makers to build commercial drone applications for various fields like agriculture, surveys, deliveries, etc. The three-year old company, founded by IITian Nitin Gupta, has been associated with DRDO and IIT for many of their projects. Gupta said that Flyt provides all the electronics and software for drone makers. “Our company makes the brains for the drones,” he said.
With Flyt, the company hopes to allow drone manufacturers the agility to develop multiple functionalities. “Flyt is to commercial drones what android is to phone. As the android operating system allows for various apps to be built, Flyt allows drone-makers to develop various functionalities for the drone,” Gupta said.
Gupta linked the present day drones to features phone (very limited functionality built for specific tasks) while Flyt, he said, would open up a whole new world of drone applications. FlytOD is the operating system of Flyt (brain) of the drone and capable for performing various tasks. Most present-day drone systems are not able to do that, he said.
The company has around 40 customers. Pradeep Gaidhani, tech architect of the company, said that they have worked with IIT Kanpur for their startup and also with DRDO for various projects.
The nascent world of commercial drone applications has seen diverse usages from agriculture, surveys, deliveries and emergency responses. In the last two years, the sector has seen a growth of 300 percent.
E-commerce giant Amazon had announced delivery by drones on a trial basis in the USA. Usage of drones for precision agriculture for spraying of pesticides, etc., has also become widespread in the USA and other developed countries.
At present, there are around 15-20 startups in the world which are working on drone-related services in India. There are around 500-1,000 drone makers in the world who, Gupta said, would be their customers. The industry is expected to be over $10 billion within the next 10 years.