The Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur has signed a Rs. 15 crore-Memorandum of Understanding to develop prototypes for self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
These prototypes will be used as air taxis for civilians, said Ajay Ghosh, head of IIT-Kanpur's Aerospace Engineering and Flight Lab.
Ghosh said the project will be a milestone under the 'Make In India' project.
The project will be completed within a span of five years.
A couple of instalments have already been allotted to IIT-Kanpur researchers to conduct a pre-feasibility study, Ghosh said.
"We have hopes that the development of such prototypes would help ease traffic congestion, owing to the flexibility of aircraft to take off from and land on any terrain," the IIT official said.
The VTOL technology equips the aircraft to perform manoeuvres that are impossible with traditional aircraft.
Other features like an ability to carry enough payload and minimal readiness time make it handy in emergency situations, Ghosh said.
"VTOL aircraft can be used for surveillance, rescue mission, combat situations, paramedics, rapid medical evacuation of troops and civil aviation," Ghosh said.
Ghosh, however, said air traffic regulations need to be calibrated in case of such aircraft.
These aircraft could be operated in both steered and pilotless modes from trivial bases like helipads or any ground surface, he said, adding it has capabilities to sustain high ground speeds.
Many defense forces across the globe are now focused on such development, the official added.
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