Come January, tourists in Manali will be able to get adrenaline rush riding a giant swing backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has been built by a start up incubated at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi and is claimed to be the first-of-its kind in the world.
Founded by four childhood adventure enthusiast friends who are engineers and certified rock climbers and mountaineers, the start up called ‘ManaliSwing’, has completed its human jump trials and is in process of filing five patents for the concept and design.
The team claims it has already been approached by Dubai government to launch the swing in the country and is in conversation with interested agencies in Switzerland too.
“We will offer one of the world’s most creative and safe giant swing like bungy jumping but instead of going down on rubber bungy cord, here one freefall followed by giant swing on dual dynamic ropes with over 100 possible jump styles allowing one to experience the adrenaline of 70m free fall with AI promising impeccable safety like never before,” Utsav Soni, one of the founders, told PTI.
“The plan is to launch in Manali on new year. The tourists will have to pay Rs 3,000 for each jump. The cost will include transportation from a certain point and professional photography and videography service,” he added.
The start up conducted a full-scale trial of 1,000 dummy jumps followed by successful Human Jumps under the special presence of IRATA experts at IIT Hyderabad.
“The AI will also help track participants and jump master’s performance across millions of data points and deliver optimized approvals for jumping. Having a really intelligent AI will be an edge for a Jump Master and his team making sure no injury, incident, or causality can happen on the site. For example, AI will not approve the jump if there is anything wrong with the followed jump protocol or international standards.
“This will be one of the best intersections of technology, innovation and adventure sport of this decade which has potential to disrupt the whole adventure tourism industry. The good part is that we don’t need to have some special hi-tech cameras and expensive setups to do this. This can be franchised anywhere in the world with an existing standard hi-res CCTV security camera feed,” he added.
The team has plans to launch the second similar swing in Goa and then take the technology to other countries.
“India, despite been world’s youngest country with 50 per cent population below 25, stands at 96th position in global Adventure Tourism Competitive Index (ATDI) 2020. That too is consistently decreasing since last 4 years. India ranks much lower than its neighbours, Bhutan (14th), and Nepal (67th). Especially, when there is a 178 per cent increase in demand of adventure activity in last 3 years.
“Somewhere, India has failed to cultivate the culture of innovation in extreme adventure tourism. It’s Incredible India but not innovative India in terms of adventure tourism compared to its global potential. We already have been approached by Dubai government and talks are on at Switzerland too but plan is to launch in India first,” Soni said.
The project which was conceptualised five years back was commercially registered last year as a start up. “We approached IIT Mandi with the idea and three months later we were an incorporated company with firs working prototype,” he added.