A milestone has been achieved in the field of aviation safety when CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), Bangalore and India Meteorological Department (IMD) signed a partnership agreement for joint production of Drishti system; a sophisticated instrument for assessment of Runway visual range, which is a critical parameter for safe landing and takeoff of aircraft in poor visibility. This is a fine example of collaboration between two government sector entities leading to indigenisation of a technology which so far was the exclusive domain of few developed countries. The indigenous production of this high-end instrument will not only result in substantial saving of foreign exchange but will also make the country self-reliant in the field of front-end technology.
The agreement which was signed by Dr Shyam Chetty, Director, CSIR-NAL and Dr LS Rathore, Director General of Meteorology, IMD; encompasses a wide range of research & development activities for further development of various meteorological sensors. The agreement paves the way for operational deployment of Drishti system at different airports where IMD provides aeronautical meteorological services. A mega project for installing nearly 70 such systems at various Airports of the country is being jointly undertaken by the two organisations.
Drishti Transmissometer, a visibility measuring system is an innovative, indigenous product first of its kind, designed and developed by CSIR-NAL to cover the wide span of lowest to highest visibility (< 25 to > 2000 meters) aiding pilots for safe landing and take-off. This cost-effective product is a mandatory system required at all airports as per International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The system is extremely robust with high mean time between failures. Seven Drishti systems are working in three international airports, viz., Choudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow, for the last 3 years, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport for the last 1½ years. Five systems are working in country’s most stringent CAT IIIB airport, viz., Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, for the last two years. Web enabled health monitoring, remote control of the system from any location in the country for accessing the data and for maintenance are the other important features of this state of the art system. Servicing is made user friendly and cost-effective by modular electronics and virtual instrumentation concepts in the design.
Drishti has also received several prestigious awards during 2013-14 from National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE), India, and Indian Electronics & Semiconductor Association (IESA) as the most innovative, meritorious product of the year.