Quidich And Its Magnificent Flying Machines

India's very own drone company has the world's largest drone fleet.

26/08/2016 4:41 PM IST | Updated 26/08/2016 5:27 PM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

When you hear the word Quidditch, you probably get transported to a magical world where a game is being played to find a flying ball. An Indian company with a similar name is also doing something magical in the field of flying.

When you step into the offices of Mumbai-based Quidich, you find plenty of drones and controllers lying around. Amid the drones, is a team of six people working hard to provide different drone-related services to prestigious clients.

The company was set up in 2013 after founders Gaurav Mehta and Rahat Kulshreshta realized that aerial filming in India is largely done with the aid of helicopters, which made it a very costly affair. So, they decided that they will use drone-mounted cameras for filming. Quidich has handled many projects since then.

The most recent was an ad shoot for Ford's new Mustang model. The price reveal of the car was shot with a drone.

"We have a fleet of around 30 drones. Which is probably largest in the world for a drone services company. Our biggest drone right now is in Mauritius for a shoot with a 6K camera mounted on it," said Mehta.

In 2015, Kulshreshtha went to Nepal to cover the earthquake through 'drone journalism'. But he soon realized that he could use his drone for aid work as well. Soon, he started accompanying rescue teams to different areas for distributing material, as well as for surveillance of difficult to reach areas.

"Some locals came to us with an interesting request. They pointed high up at the mountain and said it had been five days since the earthquake, and asked 'Could you send your bird up there to check?'" Kulshreshtha told Huffpost India.

"We were shocked by what we saw. Almost 80 percent of the houses were razed to the ground. In less than five minutes we had been able to reach a village that would have taken over three hours if attempted by road," he added.

Quidich's current focus is filming and industrial applications. The company has done exciting projects such as Bacardi NH7 Weekender and IPL 2015 live streaming.

"In festivals, we provide various experiences for users. Two years ago, we tied up with Bacardi to provide a social angle to the festivals. Last year, we had an Oculus Rift set up with a roller coaster experience," Mehta said.

Quidich was the first company to live-stream the IPL from a drone. Now, the company has tied up with BCCI to live-stream all Indian cricket matches.

"The biggest challenge for us was to handle the drone and not break the stream. You can't afford to lose even a second of coverage in sports," Mehta said.

The company is also working with Karan Johar on his next film, Ae dil hai mushkil. In fact, in a first for Bollywood, drones are being used for indoor shooting.

Quidich's most prestigious project in the industrial area is with Indian Railways, where they deploy drones for monitoring and surveilling government projects. In February, when presenting the railway budget, rail minister Suresh Prabhu announced that railways will be using drone technology for various purposes.

"We have tied up with various government organizations for different kinds of projects ranging from road building to surveillance," Mehta said. "We have made our own software as well to take high-resolution images of an area for mapping and stitching them together. These are used for further analysis by our clients."

"Image processing for the mapping is process heavy, so we have hosted our services in the cloud on AWS," he added. "Our clients can download or upload the information anytime they want through their logins."

Quidich currently operates from Mumbai and Delhi. The company is working on many exciting projects, including paint bucket delivery for Asian Paints.

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