Product portfolio of Optimized Electrotech

Ahmedabad-based defence tech start-up Optimized Electrotech is an electro-optics surveillance start-up that is targeting India’s defence, paramilitary forces, aerospace, airports, critical assets, and other sectors along with a huge export market.

In an increasingly unforeseeable world, it is vital for a country to maintain national safety, strategic security, and tactical superiority in the face of any type of threat. Over the last few years, India has been encouraging innovators to focus on new-age technologies to empower the country’s defence sector.

Numerous start-ups have risen to the challenge to help the government maintain homeland security. One such defence tech start-up making a mark is Ahmedabad-based Optimized Electrotech.

Founded in 2017 by Sandeep Shah along with Anil Yekkala, Dharin Shah, Kuldeep Saxena, and Purvi Shah, Optimized Electrotech aims to solve surveillance-related challenges with its long-distance imaging systems. The make-in-India electro-optics surveillance start-up aims to serve the defence, paramilitary forces, aerospace, airports, critical assets, and other industries, along with a huge export market.

Spotlight On Defence Tech

As defence and security priorities rise across the world, the market demand – in India and abroad - is clear.

In November 2019, media reports revealed that the Indian government was looking to fund at least 250 defence start-ups over the next five years to come up with new, cutting-edge solutions for the armed forces. The Indian Ministry of Defence earmarked Rs 500 crore for its Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative to find new technologies to help the Indian armed forces.

Sandeep launched the start-up after working in defence and space for more than 15 years. He roped in his cousin, Dharin, an IISc Bangalore alum who’s spent almost 20 years of his life in Electronics R&D, as co-founder and head of electronics and product design at Optimized Electrotech. It took Sandeep almost one year to meet the other co-founders and build the core team.

Speaking to YourStory, Sandeep, Co-founder and Managing Director, says, “Electro-optics has various applications, including surveillance for smart cities, satellite-based imaging, border surveillance, medical imaging, access control, machine vision, automotive (advanced driver-assistance systems, i.e. ADAS), and consumer electronics. Our technologies help us address many of these markets in entirety. However, the idea of being able to serve our country led us to focus on enhancing homeland security and defence capabilities.”

How Electro-Optics Works

Sandeep says an electro-optics system captures information by converting data from photons into images that can be automatically interpreted and coupled with other sensors for a better understanding.

“The technology requires knowledge of mixed-signal electronics, materials science, optomechanics, optics, software, and artificial intelligence. The quantum of data generated by an EO system requires deep learning and edge intelligence to make it autonomous, else post-facto forensic surveillance becomes a needle in a haystack, like one would typically see in case of CCTV footage,” he says.

According to the co-founder, the products offered by the start-up work on the 400 nm to 12μ range, the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum (range of all types of EM radiation), and are equipped with different types of optics to enable several applications. 

The start-up’s first line of products, the InfiVision series, works on VIS+NIR wavelength and has been designed to detect a tank in more than 30km range. The MistVision series works on SWIR wavelength and provides a long-range electro-optics system for fog penetration. The ClearVision series works on VIS NIR and MWIR spectrum and helps in high spectral-range surveillance in all weather conditions while the NoctVision series works on VIS NIR and LWIR wavelength to carry out surveillance at night.

The upcoming line – the OmniVision series - will include capabilities of all the four wavelengths - VIS NIR, SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR. It will be able to monitor a long-range area amid any weather obstacles such as smog, smoke, fog, and darkness. 

“In autonomous mode, the system alerts the authorities with more information than just a trigger of the presence of a person. For example, if a person is found lingering at a location where people are generally not present or if there seems to be a gathering of people at a location, the system counts the number people, checks if they are in uniform, looks for weapons, reads licence plates of their vehicle, and matches faces with a database of possible suspects. All this is passive and makes the system less susceptible to discovery,” Sandeep says.

Last year, Optimized Electrotech was announced as the winner of IDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence), Make-in-India for Defence challenge, and received a grant of Rs 1.5 crore.