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Technology

India's Tata Consultancy sets up US drone research lab

Site includes outdoor space for test flights

CEO Rajesh Gopinathan of Tata Consultancy Services.

MUMBAI -- Indian information technology company Tata Consultancy Services opened a drone research hub in the U.S. earlier this month, aiming to come up with IT-linked applications for a wide range of customers interested in the technology.

The Drones Research Lab occupies part of the company's existing 223-acre innovation center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The site includes an outdoor space for engineers to test how wind, jamming and other obstacles affect unmanned aerial vehicles.

The facility allows for joint development and testing of new technologies with clients. TCS pilots have Federal Aviation Administration certification to fly drones.

TCS sees roles for drones in such tasks as helping insurers assess damage in disaster-stricken areas that are inaccessible to people and delivering parts within factories. 

Since the devices are able to collect massive amounts of photo, video, location and other data that requires analysis, TCS is hoping to create synergies with its existing IT services business.

The number of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles in use in the U.S. is projected to soar from 42,000 units at the end of 2016 to 442,000 units by 2021, according to the FAA.

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