Bangalore’s IISc to house Nokia Centre of Excellence for Networked Robotics

Renowned Indian university for research and higher education in science and engineering, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has a reason to pride. Finnish telecom major Nokia has decided to establish its Nokia Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Networked Robotics at the institute.

The CoE aims to promote interdisciplinary research involving robotics, advanced communication technologies, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop socially relevant use cases across areas like emergency management, agriculture, and industrial automation.

The center would also promote engagement and cooperation between academia, start-ups, and industry ecosystem partners in research and development of use cases, supporting and aligning with the Government initiatives of Start-up India. 

According to Nokia, the network robotics laboratory will be available to the IISc community and its ecosystem partners for advanced research projects involving designing next-generation networks and applications of Artificial Intelligence for solving pertinent social problems.

Nokia is also expected to share its expertise in next-generation network innovations and leverage Nokia Bell Labs’ technical expertise in robot orchestration, robot network controller, and human-robot interaction to aid the research and development of the end-to-end use case technology solutions.

IISc, in turn, would engage its cross-disciplinary faculty and researchers, and provide its in-house expertise in algorithms, drones, and robotic systems.

Professor G Rangarajan, Director, IISc, believes that this collaboration with Nokia will go a long way in helping the institute’s students to gain knowledge and insights and make significant contributions to the development of innovative and societally relevant 5G use cases. “This is a critical initiative and it will help us move closer to finding technology-powered solutions to enrich our lives,” says the professor.

Some of the use cases which the collaboration will explore include:

  • Using drones for remote management of agricultural orchards to promote water conservation and avoid human contact with the pesticide.
  • Drones using a 5G-enabled wide-area network to gather situational information, helping first responders to save lives by quickly accessing the affected areas during disaster relief.
  • Drones for applications such as anticipating crop fires.

The collaboration will help IISc in capacity building and human resources development in the cutting-edge technology of robotics, 5G, and autonomous systems. The research will also contribute to standards development and inform research.

The Nokia CoE at IISc will facilitate close interaction with all the stakeholders of the ecosystem for the exchange of ideas and symbiotic development of end-to-end use cases. It will also host symposia for academia and industry, and organize hackathons for startups. 

Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice President and Head of India Market, Nokia, said: “Emerging technologies such as the 5G have potential to enable an entirely new array of use cases with a profound societal impact. With Nokia’s rich innovation heritage, we aim to engage with the bright and young minds at IISc to nurture and advance the latest technologies that can benefit communities. We are confident that it will lead to the development of groundbreaking use cases.”

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