Drones have officially landed in Cincinnati with the opening of Tata Consultancy Services' first U.S.-based Drones Research Lab at its Seven Hills Park Innovation Center earlier this month.
“In 2008, we established the Innovation Center to provide advanced technology solutions and niche capabilities for our North American customers,” says Greg Asher, TCS Delivery Center Head. “We have 20 labs globally and we wanted to bring the best in innovation to Cincinnati to serve as a showcase and provide pure research on topics that have traction and markets.”
Although drones are just one of the research areas at TCS’s Innovation Center, the multi-disciplinary nature of those devices has applications for a wide range of technologies and industries. The Drones Research Lab will explore IOT, machine learning, computer vision systems and sensor systems to create custom solutions for TCS customers.
“The U.S. market is the best place to launch these innovations,” says Asher. “America is on the forefront of technology and drone regulatory guidance. When solutions hit the market, U.S. companies will lead the charge.”
TCS’s drone research focuses on finding autonomous flight and data collection solutions to existing challenges that businesses face.
“Supply chain problems are an area where drones can help,” Asher says. “To do a physical inventory of a warehouse, a company has to shut down for at least a day. Drones could count automatically as they fly up and down the aisles, improving efficiency, accuracy and speed to market.”
At the Drones Research Lab, TCS staff build prototypes and establish proof of concept that they work. Drones are flown in large indoor spaces that replicate warehouse environments and soon will be tested outdoors on the 223-acre campus by on-staff FAA certified drone pilots.
“Although corporate applications are our first focus, we are building relationships with academic institutions as well,” says Deepak Sharma, Business Unit Head for TCS Cincinnati. “Cincinnati stands out for the local universities already excelling in research.”
Asher adds: “What’s going on in Cincinnati is very exciting for us. We are well connected with the startup community in town. Our job is to see what’s relevant and what we can apply now.”
TCS uses a co-innovation network model framework to collaborate with startups around the world. Innovations and technologies developed by partner startup companies are included in solutions that TCS can commercialize and produce for their customers.
As TCS expands globally, Asher and Sharma see continued growth opportunities for the Cincinnati facility.
“The secret sauce at TCS is our people,” Asher says. “Our rapid growth is one of the reasons our Innovation Center is here. Cincinnati has phenomenal talent attracted here by opportunities and produced by regional universities.”