A reliable integrated avionics system for drones, home solution for blood cell counting, and FM RDS Utilities are some of the most innovative technologies produced by Indian start-ups and students this year to win the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge”.
On August 18, 2020, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)launched the “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge” as part of their series of proactive, pre-emptive and graded measures taken to spur the technology led innovation ecosystem in the country and staying at the forefront of digital adoption.
Open to students at all levels and start-ups, the Challenge demanded contestants to tinker with the Swadeshi Processor IPs (VEGA processor by C-DAC & SHAKTI processor by IIT Madras) and facilitate them with innovating the frugal solutions for societal needs.
Financial support to the tune of Rs. 4.40 Crore was provided at various stages of the Challenge for developing the hardware prototype and incubating a start-up to participating teams.
About 6,170 teams (having over 10,000 members) including over 500 start-ups contested during initial stages of the challenge by way of submitting online quiz, abstract and detailed proposal to reach at a stage wherein 100 semi-finalists were provided by MeitY with the VEGA& SHAKTI processor IPs ported on FPGA boards and financial as well as technical support to develop Hardware Proof of Concept applications around them.
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30 teams with most technically and financially viable solutions were further given financial & technical assistance to improvise further on their hardware prototype and demonstrate to jury during Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrated by MeitY from November 29 to December 3, 2021. Out of the 30 teams, 10 most innovative teams won the challenge with their strategic solutions to various problems.
Vega FCS FT (AI Drone) came at the first position for their drone application and was awarded with Rs 35 Lakh cheque by Shri Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. At the second position, HWDL won Rs 30 Lakh for FM RDS Utilities. Meanwhile, Cytox, at the third position won Rs 25 Lakh for their ‘cell count’ project.
Congratulating the winners of the challenge, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar Minister of State, Ministry of Electronics & IT and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship said, “I went around many of the stalls and I say this without fear of sounding like I am exaggerating that this is very high-quality work. As somebody who has spent over 3.5 decades in technology, I can surely recognize good technology work. Out of all the sessions which have happened before, this is the one that looks forward to the future”.