CAIR turns 25 as India marches ahead with smarter tools

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    Mar 13, 2010
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    Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: CAIR turns 25 as India marches ahead with smarter tools


    The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) – one of the lesser-talked-about establishments of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Bangalore turned 25 today. From a rather humble one-room office located in another defence facility in Bangalore in 1986 and manned be a skeletal three-member staff, CAIR has grown into one mighty unit developing systems and solutions in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation computer networking, communications, and security.
    Topping its tempting tech menu are C3I systems (Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence), Tactical Communication Systems (TCS), Communication Secrecy systems, information assurance technologies. With a strong bonding developed between the industry and research institutions, today CAIR's combined strength stands at 350.
    From developing an artificial intelligence expert system shell called nipuNA during its early days, which eventually got ported to a PC
    , CAIR has spread its wings to smarter solutions aiding the armed forces. “Development work in robotics was one of the priority areas from the inception of the lab. Concentrating on the development of totally indigenous robots, the lab developed a variety of controllers and manipulators for Gantry, Scara, and other types of robots. With the experience gained from these initial years, the lab developed an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV). The expertise in control systems required for robotics was applied to the development of control laws for Tejas fighter,” CAIR director V S Mahalingam told Express.
    A neural network-based software for processing application forms was developed by CAIR, which runs on a personal computer. “The software can correct various human errors in handling forms and also correct spelling mistakes committed by the applicants. After processing, the software would automatically update a database,” Mahalingam said.
    And, when an expanded charter came calling in early 2000, CAIR began the development of a major command and control system for decision support. “After several rounds of user trials, the system was formally handed over to the Indian Army. In a supportive role, the CAIR has provided software for fusion of sensor information for battlefield surveillance. Today, a versatile geographical information systems (GIS) is emerging from CAIR for the diverse requirements of defence forces,” the CAIR chief said.
    In the area of artificial intelligence, CAIR has made significant R&D efforts in natural language text processing, intelligent data mining and inferencing engines. These are expected to benefit the next-generation C3I systems. “We have established a 3D virtual reality terrain visualization system with fly-through capability. The present focus is on miniature and micro miniature mobile robotic platforms. They are vital for futuristic reconnaissance and combat supportive roles,”says Mahalingam.
    DRDO chief V K Saraswat says that the future conflicts, however big or small they could be, will be won by the backing of intelligent systems. “Today the confidence CAIR is giving to Indian armed forces in developing intelligent tools and solutions is a proof towards the technological leap we have achieved. With network-centric software set to play a key role in future, CAIR has set its eyes in developing many critical and intelligent systems,” Saraswat said.
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