The airboat developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) which has successfully undergone trials at the Ulsoor Lake is being pitched for commercialisation. The airboat named JALDOST was developed by NAL as an in-house project for weed cutting and scooping out floating waste products from lakes and water bodies. After successfully developing and demonstrating its capabilities, NAL has signed a collaboration agreement with a private engineering firm to take the project beyond the innovation phase and possible commercialisation. According to NAL it signed a collaboration agreement with Hosur-based Shrivari Enegineering Systems Private Limited for customising, demonstration, performance evaluation of the upgraded JALDOST to bring out a simple and user-friendly, marketable product for commercialization. Scientists who were associated with the project had earlier told that each boat will cost about Rs20 lakh and the production will have to be taken up by the industry. They added that a key aspect here is to ensure that the cost of the indigenous airboat is lower than the imported ones. “As a proof that the concept is successful, versions of high-powered airboats would also be made to cater to the end-user needs, if required,” said scientists had said. It is in this context that NAL has tied up with the private firm to bring out simple and user friendly and marketable product for commercialization. During its launch a few months ago NAL had said that airboats use air propulsion and thrust vectoring technology to travel in shallow and flood waters. Due to this operating methodology there is no risk of entanglement with objects under water which are not easily identifiable, NAL had said. Besides the boat also has a hydraulic system based scoop and saw-toothed, sliding weed cutters at the front. During the field trials at the Ulsoor Lake, the airboat with automotive engine and flat bottom hull had successfully demonstrated all functionalities of the system. Apart from being used for clearing weeds, the other applications of the airboat include flood disasters, mass transport in marshy-lands, and tourism, etc.
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