Boeing India announces winners of innovation program for budding student entrepreneurs

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Bengaluru: Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced the winners of its university innovation platform. Six winners were selected from 26 finalist teams. The Boeing University Innovation Leadership Development (BUILD) program attracted a record number of entrants, many from tier 2 and 3 cities, with more than 850 student & early-stage innovation teams applying from across India.

The six winning teams are:

Startups:

Pi Drones, Kanpur: Hybrid Vertical take-off or landing (VTOL) drones for long range inspection (autonomous vehicles)

Terracarb, Bengaluru: Proprietary process for manufacturing graphene (materials)

Photom Technologies, Ahmedabad: Maintenance solutions for solar PV plants (robotics)

Student Teams:

InfyU Labs, IIT Madras, Chennai: Using a combination of AI / ML and spectroscopy to do non-invasive rapid testing of agricultural produce (analytics)

Project Pinaka, BITS Pilani,(Goa), Goa: Making fixed wing electric drones commercially viable by improving flight endurance (autonomous vehicles)

PS-1925, IIIT Allahabad, Allahabad: Pesticide spraying drone based service for farmers (autonomous vehicles).

The BUILD program is Boeing’s unique aerospace innovation, leadership and talent nurturing program for university students, faculty and early stage start-ups. The program invited ideas in the fields of aerospace, autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, materials, robotics and the Internet of Things. The incubator program launched in collaboration with seven incubators: IIT Delhi, IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IISc Bangalore, T-Hub Hyderabad and KIIT Bhubaneshwar.

“We believe that a close partnership with India’s academia and growing entrepreneurial ecosystem has the potential to nurture innovation and skills development for the aerospace industry,” said Salil Gupte, president, Boeing India. “Programs such as BUILD are designed to turn early-stage ideas into full business concepts. Students are given learning materials, resources and an opportunity to learn from leading industry experts.”

A stringent evaluation process shortlisted 82 teams to enter the program’s regional boot camps. These teams worked with incubators to refine their ideas, which were then pitched to a group of entrepreneurs and Boeing leaders. Mentors from Boeing and industry experts interacted with the finalists throughout the program to refine their ideas and help develop their concepts into market-ready solutions.

Over the years, Boeing has strategically invested in developing talent for the Indian aerospace sector, and inspiring the next generation of engineering talent in India. Boeing has created a pool of skilled workforce, aerospace engineering experts and entrepreneurs to help grow the capabilities of the Indian aerospace industry through its programs such as the Boeing HorizonX India Innovation Challenge, the Accelerated Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Apprenticeship and National Aeromodelling Competition with IIT.