In a first, IISc holds UAV flying competition at Open Day

In a first, IISc holds UAV flying competition  at Open Day

Hundreds of students, teachers and parents attending IISc’s Open Day on Saturday were in for a surprise when unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) showered toffees on them.

This was the first time a UAV competition was organised as part of the institute’s Open Day.

Open Day is an annual event when India’s premier science institute “opens its doors to the public to visit, learn, ask and understand the research-culture.’’ The UAV competition was open to all age groups. Seven teams participated in the competition. Further, the competition was divided into three categories – Roto GP (Race among UAVs), Search and Rescue category (UAV should deliver an emergency package to a person who has lost it) and Treasure Hunt (UAVs have to follow clues placed in various locations and find the treasure).  Every UAV underwent an airworthiness test on the eve of the competition.

Dr S N Omkar, Aerospace Engineering Department, IISc, said that earlier, they used to design and have demonstrations of UAVs. “As the number of drone enthusiasts is on the rise, we planned to give a platform to encourage talent on the Open Day,” he said.

Siddharth, 17, the youngest UAV operator in the competition, participated in two categories: Roto GP and Search and Rescue. A race enthusiast, Siddharth sees this sport catching up as a hobby. “The pilot (UAV operator) needs technical skills in building the quadcopter as well as flying skills,” he said. He started building his own UAV in November 2014 by getting information through online communities and research. Nehruji (45) is the oldest competitor. He has been an avid UAV flier for the past eight years. His UAV was the biggest at the event. Nehruji spent Rs 3 lakh on the 1,400 mm diameter UAV with spare parts procured from China. He also showered toffees from the UAV to entertain school children.

Siddharth won the search and rescue competition while Devesh Sharma won the Roto GP event. The winners of the Treasure Hunt were Nehruji, Emil Paul and Threenesh team. Wing Commander Soma, who was the referee for the event, said DGCA guidelines do not allow the UAV to fly above 200 feet.

“The participants were asked to fly their machines below 100 feet,” he said. IISc had organised audio-visual presentations on a wide-range of subjects from rocket science to the functioning of the brain. Several volunteers from the institute were seen explaining various aspects of science to visitors who listened to them attentively.

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