Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Palakkad and IIT-Mandi have jointly developed an underwater robotic vehicle (URV) that can explore ocean depths up to 300 m. The collaborative project between IIT-Palakkad Technology IHub Foundation (IPTIF) and IIT Mandi has been funded by the National Mission of Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) of the Central Department of Science and Technology.

The URV features tilting thrusters, six degrees of freedom manipulators, high endurance, and fully autonomous control suitable for various marine applications up to 300 m in depth. Extensive testing has been conducted at depths of 30 m in simulated marine basins and real-world environments, including lakes and dam reservoirs, with the support of the Indian Navy.

Patent Sought

The research team, led by Santhakumar Mohan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at IIT-Palakkad and Faculty Fellow at IPTIF, and Jagadeesh Kadiyam, Assistant Professor at IIT Mandi, has applied for an Indian patent.

Dr. Kadiyam said that their vehicle displayed exceptional capabilities even in water currents and varying payloads. The developed system can handle different underwater missions in the ocean and inland waters such as inspection and intervention, he said.


Discussions are under way between IIT Palakkad, IPTIF, and a prominent start-up in marine robotics for the transfer and eventual commercialization of this technology.

“IPTIF underscores IIT Palakkad’s commitment to propelling the development of cutting-edge technologies. The progress in URV technology, led by Prof. Santhakumar, exemplifies our capability to innovate, design, and manufacture sophisticated engineering products domestically,” said IIT Palakkad Director A Seshadri Sekhar.

Prof. Sekhar said that the hostile and unstructured nature of marine environments necessitated advanced technological solutions for effective exploration. “Industries such as offshore oil and gas, seabed surveys, underwater maintenance, and defence applications stand to benefit greatly from such innovations,” he said.

“This signifies one of the early achievements arising from the technology pipeline of IPTIF,” said Saishyam Narayanan, chief executive officer of IPTIF.

IPTIF, established as a Section 8 company by IIT Palakkad, is among the nation’s 25 Technology Innovation Hubs (TIHs), dedicated to advancing cutting-edge technology within the realm of Cyber-Physical Systems. Specializing in Intelligent Collaborative Systems, the Hub is currently concentrated on driving automation within the Energy and Safety sectors. Additionally, IPTIF extends support to deep-tech start-ups and entrepreneurs for technology advancement, while also conducting various skill development programs tailored to relevant industry needs.

(With Agency Inputs)