IIT-M's advanced drone promises to aid disaster relief

IIT-M's advanced drone promises to aid disaster relief

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by IIT-Madras students promises unmatched capabilities in disaster relief and other emergency operations as the high-tech drone can be operated even during inclement weather conditions.

The out of the box idea may help in taking to next level the various operations during calamities and perhaps even terror attacks.

The team of the institution has accomplished “Operation Garuda” after a hard work of three years. The UAV with coaxial quadrotor configuration has several hours’ endurance and is capable of semi-autonomous navigation.

“Terrorists attacked Mumbai hotels and other places and that time several police personnel lost their lives. Also, during Uttarakhand flood, it took several days for the Army to reach the disaster area. These incidents prompted us to create a device that could solve such type of problems,” Ganeshram Nandakumar, a PhD scholar at Department of Engineering Design and the head of the students team, told Deccan Herald.

“This UAV has the capacity to enter through windows or enter any other sensitive area which human beings cannot enter. It also has a high-resolution camera which can take clear pictures of anything from a 2 km height. It can be customised for size, flying time and carrying payload, depending on the requirement", he said.

Ganesh said the National Programme on Micro Air Vehicle (NPMICAV), a joint initiative of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Department of Science and Technology (DST), also trying to develop such an UAV, that can travel several kilometres even during severe weather conditions. 

According to IIT-M professor Dr Asokan Thondiyath , who supervised the student’s invention, said the hardware technology onboard Garuda includes all synthetic vision systems which provide ground operators a clearer picture of developing scenarios and offer a greater depth of vision. He said advanced incorporation of night vision and far-infrared spectrum technologies would aid dusk operations. 

The professor said that the Garuda, developed at a cost of just Rs 3 lakh, could be enhanced depend upon the requirement from either defence personnel or officials from the disaster management.

He revealed that police department and fire service departments from different states have shown interest in Garuda. “Whatever demand comes, we will develop according to their requirements after the approval of our Chairperson,” he added.

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