AI4ICPS Setting Pace for India’s Transition to Smart Industry Hub

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IIT Kharagpur is all set to transform the nation’s industrial sector with scalable application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS). The Institute has recently set up a special purpose vehicle, the IIT Kharagpur AI4ICPS I Hub Foundation for translation of academic research at the proof of concept level to industrially scalable products and processes, focused on AI interventions to CPS. 

“While research has been happening in AI&ML for decades, mostly limited to software with limited inclusion in consumer goods and daily used gadgets; graduating innovation to technology readiness for industrial production is crucial. The Hub is envisioned to be a unique establishment in the country to undertake a diverse spectrum of activities linking academic research to the industry through an inclusive co-working partnership, towards the common goal of unlocking the $500 billion contributions to India’s GDP expected from Data and AI by 2025,” remarked Principal Investigator Dr. Debdoot Sheet, Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence. 

The mandate at AI4ICPS is to transition research from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 to TRL 7, which means enabling the translation of academic research resulting in pre-/prototypes of AI&ML interventions in CPS to scalability ready products and processes for industry. The Institute received a grant of ₹ 170 crore from the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India under the NM-ICPS to set up the infrastructure and undertake the related research and training programs.

“We are also committed to promote fundamental research in TRL 1 to TRL 3 and foster the creation of startups to scale production for their off-shelf market availability, an activity beyond TRL 7 and ranging upto TRL 9,” added Dr. Sheet.

The Hub will further develop critical infrastructure for the Nation, an AI Cloud for CPS, a National Knowledge Portal for training human resources on the future-ready AI technology for CPS.

“The host of Digital Twins like tractors and farm machines, 3D printing technology, structural health and road traffic, wastewater engineering, energy-efficient buildings, next-gen wireless communication, human physiology and in-silico disease models are to name a few of the 32 technologies to be developed by the PEG at the Hub,” said Dr. Ashish Ranjan Hota, Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering.

The R&D work will span over core research in algorithms, methods, explainability, trust and safety of AI&ML, enabling technologies like machine vision, speech, natural language processing (NLP), text analytics, augmented and virtual reality, technology for the internet of things (IoT), and also application of AI&ML technologies in a diverse range of industry verticals including (i) healthcare, (ii) precision agriculture and nutritional security, (iii) manufacturing, (iv) transportation, (v) environment and pollution, (vi) infrastructure and energy, (vii) education, (viii) judiciary and legal, and (ix) communication.

“IIT Kharagpur is a pioneer in AI education and research with more than a hundred faculty members working in theory and methods of AI and its applications across various disciplines. This Hub will create a multidimensional ecosystem to foster innovation and commercialization of AI&ML interventions to ICPS spanning across several sectors along with facilitation of new knowledge creation, upskilling human resources, entrepreneurship and job creation,” said Director, Prof. Virendra K Tewari. 

Recruitment is currently underway for leadership and engineering roles including CEO, CXOs, Engineering Managers to drive the pace at the Hub.

“AI4ICPS will have an in-house product engineering group, dedicated team of professionals to support technology commercialization and startup creation, and is looking to support more than 100 research fellows, postdoctoral researchers and early career academics over the next five years, to fulfil its mandate of promoting enterprises to add over 13,000 jobs in CPS,” said Dr. Ashish Ranjan Hota.

With research and new knowledge generation, the upskilling of human resources capable of meeting the demands of AI-powered industrial sectors is also on the chart.

“A mechanism of wide-scale training on AI technologies, not just for current graduates, but also for industry professionals is the need of the hour, to adapt to the rapidly evolving landscape of traditional industry imbibing AI into CPS. We need to train human resources across the spectrum of engineering, starting at diploma graduates, for the adoption of AI in CPS; and focus on building scalable technology with AI to enable wide-scale pedagogical reach out of AI for CPS,” added Prof. Sudeshna Sarkar from the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and Head of the Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence.

Incubating startups to facilitate technology production and job creation will be another thrust area, with programs to support innovation promotion starting with student challenges, gradually maturing them with linked investments like ignition and seed support. The Hub programs on incubation and innovation acceleration will also offer business development training and handholding to technologists aspiring to be entrepreneurs in AI&ML technologies.  Technology Certification and Audit services for AI&ML intervention to ICPS, and their safety and verification shall also be provided at AI4ICPS as first of its kind offering within the country.

“The host of live testbeds of CPS made available via cloud will improve real time collaborations between academia and industry. We look forward to spin off cloud connected machines of the future, across sectors ranging from agriculture to heavy machinery,” added Dr. Rajendra Machavaram, Assistant Professor with the Department of Agricultural & Food Engineering. 

Prof. Surjya Pal from the Department of Mechanical Engineering & the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, who is associated with Hub mentioned his recent AI-based innovations of friction stir welding technology in collaboration with TCS and real-time metrological inspection which are significant steps in India’s journey towards Industry 4.0.

“Such AI-based innovations are the way forward for high-quality affordable products by means of minimizing production losses, production time and human intervention,” he said.

Over 80 Faculty members from diverse disciplines of the Institute in driving the Hub’s establishment. Their R&D work will have close collaboration with over 50 companies and PSUs who are engaging early on, scouting for potential technologies. Research collaborations are also being discussed with over 30 global research partners towards furthering the objective of a unifying effort to converge the world in building AI for industries of the future across sectors ranging from agriculture to heavy machinery. 

About AI 4 ICPS

AI4ICPS is a special purpose vehicle instituted for translation of academic research, generally available at proof of concept level to industrially scalable products and processes for Cyber-Physical Systems. Focus is on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies applied across industry sectors like healthcare, precision agriculture and nutritional security, manufacturing, transportation, environment and pollution, infrastructure and energy, education, judiciary and legal, and communication. AI4ICPS engages in innovation translation through the Industry-Academia-Hub co-working product engineering group (PEG), and beyond it also promotes human resources and skill development for making available trained manpower for industry adopting such new technologies, promote entrepreneurship among the youth to facilitate new venture creation for technology production and new job creation, and collaborate with renowned groups to complement technology development through international cooperative research programs. The IIT KHARAGPUR AI4ICPS I HUB FOUNDATION is established as a Section 8 company with an assured investment of Rs. 170 crores by the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The hub closely collaborates with 25 other hubs across the country for building a salubrious ecosystem for CPS industry in the country. 

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For project information: Prof. Debdoot Sheet, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence

Principal Investigator, AI 4 ICPS – Technology Innovation Hub on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems


For media queries:

Shreyoshi Ghosh, Executive Officer (Media & Communication), E: |

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By Shreyoshi Ghosh

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