Bala Aatral Solutions, a Chennai-based startup in the serious gaming industry, has won grants worth Rs. 3 crore from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), meant for it to work on two defence startup challenges using Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.
Mr. Prem Balachandran, CEO, Bala Aatral Solutions
The startup is geared up to develop: an Augmented Reality (AR)-Virtual Reality (VR) solution for airplane mechanics, and a VR-based training simulator for helicopter pilots, within two years, as per the MoD mandate.
DISC 5 winners being felicitated by honourable Union Defence Minister. Mr. Prem representing Bala Aatral Solutions (6 th from left)
The challenges, which attracted the entries from hundreds of companies across the country, were announced by MoD’s Innovations for Defence Excellence (IDEX), a platform to promote innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector. Aatral has emerged among a handful of companies selected by IDEX thanks to its core competencies in VR and AR technologies. Announcing the grants, the Union Defence Minister felicitated the company, at a function held in New Delhi recently.
In his comments, Mr. Prem Balachandran, CEO, Bala Aatral Solutions, said, “We are excited to have been selected for the India Defence startup challenges. It is a matter of pride to have the capabilities to contribute to our defence sector and a great recognition for our AR/VR competencies. Our AR/VR solution for airplane mechanics eliminates the need for the technicians to spend hours reading through manuals with thousands of lines of instructions. The solution will display relevant audio/visual cues for the technicians through smart glass to aid their repairing task. Our VR-based simulator will eliminate the need for a real helicopter for training and evaluation. The simulator will have a virtual cockpit environment to test various capabilities of pilots such as their emergency response and cognitive loads, serving as a highly economical and effective evaluation solution.”
Founded in 2018, Bala Aatral Solutions is a startup recognised by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Government of India. It is incubated at Mach 33, Bengaluru, India’s first business incubator developed in public private partnership to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in aviation, aerospace and space-tech. One of the focus areas of Aatral is ‘digital twin’ technologies that refer to virtual representation of physical objects or processes that would serve as the real-time digital environment especially for experiential learning.
Talking about the benefits of serious gaming and digital twin technologies, Prem, said that the real potential of these technologies lies in their ability to provide experiential learning for the users by boosting their muscle memory and knowledge retention far better than the conventional training. “We cater to different requirements from simple fire fighting training using VR for corporate employees to complex flight emergencies on an airplane for seasoned pilots. All forbidden or impossible to create experiences can be provided using these digital technologies. We want to be a key player in this emerging area.”
Aatral has developed an industrial safety platform to create customised AR/VR training solutions for employees in construction, manufacturing and processing industries. The startup has a 20+ member team of software engineers and domain experts providing the best-in-class industrial safety and remote assist solutions. In an active partnership with Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts Private Limited, Bengaluru, Aatral is providing the automobile major training digitalization solutions based on VR and AR technologies. The company is also working with leading players in the aviation sector.