1,000-drone projection show and a dazzling Laser event were the cynosures of this year’s Beating Retreat ceremony, which took place on January 29, 2022.
Marking 75 years of India’s independence, the annual ceremony saw nearly 1,000 drones, designed and developed by ‘Botlab Dynamics’, a startup from IIT-Delhi. The drones lit up the sky over the Rashtrapati Bhavan, making various formations including Mahatma Gandhi, Tricolour, and the National War Memorial. The drones were accompanied by a narration and background tune of Vande Mataram.
Likewise, for the first time, on the parapet of the north block and the south block, a laser projection mapping show was organized to commemorate 75 years of independence and Republic Day celebrations. The two shows took place in addition to the foot-tapping music and classical renditions that are there every year at the Beating Retreat ceremony.
BotLab Dynamics’s cutting edge drone technology
IIT Delhi’s BotLab is a startup, which was incubated at IIT D’s incubation facility, TBIU ( Technology Business Incubator). BotLab Dynamics has been building technology that allows many drones to fly simultaneously and autonomously in interesting spatial and make temporal formations.
The startup presently leveraging its technology in key sectors like Media & Entrainment and Defence.
After building the technology from scratch, BotLab is paving its way in drone technology solutions by designing both hardware and software in-house. The firm has developed a full stack of solutions for drone light shows.
It is noteworthy that, India became only the fourth country to conduct a drone show of this level, which was designed and conceptualized indigenously. Previously, the United States, China, and Russia are the three countries that put up a drone show of this size.
Led by IIT alumni, BotLab was given an initial seed fund of Rs 1 crore by the Research and Development wing of the Department of Science & Technology. Later, the startup received Rs 2.5 crore to scale up and commercialisation by the Technology Development Board of DST.
The display of Indian defence bands
As a part of the beating retreat ceremony, the bands of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and the Central Armed Police Forces marched down Vijay Chowk, playing a total of 23 songs, before they retreated to the tune of ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha’.
The defence bands were accompanied by trumpeters, drummers, and buglers, which marched in synchronised formations, playing popular tunes including Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja.
President Ram Nath Kovind was the chief guest of the ceremony, who was arrived accompanied by the President’s Bodyguard -Indian Army’s senior-most and the oldest mounted regiment. PM Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh among other dignitaries were also present at the event.