On February 4th and 5th, Microsoft India hosted AXLE 2019, as part of Microsoft Academia Accelerator. It is an event that showcases collaboration between Microsoft and leading academic institutions in India. Held at Hyderabad and Bengaluru, the theme of this year’s AXLE was AI for Good.
Microsoft Academia Accelerator is a campus engagement program that aims to develop an association between industry and academia in India. It provides a platform to colleges, mentor support, publishing support, and pitch support so that students can sharpen their Computer Science skills and realize their full potential.
Around 5000 students from 21 leading engineering colleges in India participated and showcased 350+ projects which were part of CFD++ National Challenge (code.fun.do++). These projects showcased new ways to use technology and solve real-life challenges.
Along with students, the event also included leaders and employees from Microsoft, computer science faculty, and industry influencers. They focused on developing solutions using modern technologies to predict or manage natural disasters better.
“Academia Accelerator aims to provide insights to students about important technology trends and practices and adding industry know-how to the existing Computer Science curriculum. At Microsoft, we see unique ways of how AI can be used to improve products, services and how fostering the dialogue on the beneficial use of AI can help in enabling long term sustainable solutions to large scale challenges,” said Chitra Sood, Director Business Management, Microsoft India (R&D) Private Ltd.
Students from IIT Madras (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras) won the challenge for their UAVs for Disaster Management project. These Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are capable of providing accurate information about the location of people stuck during the disaster. Powered by AI and Computer Vision, this project distributes the drones to cover maximum area and perform intelligent tasks like detecting people.
IIT Guwahati and IIT Jodhpur were the first runner up and second runner up, respectively.
Students from IIT Guwahati showcased a mixed reality app called DUBG, that can make it easier for rescuers during the disasters to perform basic tasks like communication, navigation, and current status monitoring. This will save time on pre-planning their routes and operating devices for communication.
Whereas, the project built by students from IIT Jodhpur is based on internet of things (IoT). The system will be installed in rooms and homes, and provide early warning to people so that they can take necessary measures.
“India has immense potential to be a hub of development for AI driven solutions. Microsoft’s engagement with the Academia reiterates our commitment to engage and enrich the innovation journey of students in Engineering schools. It makes AI and its benefits accessible and drive digital transformation at the grassroot level. We are excited by the enthusiasm shown by students using AI and anticipate that they will apply their learnings from this challenge through their career,” Chitra Sood added.