Students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur have developed a drone with the use of indigenous hardware and software. Somesh Kumar, professor at the Department of Mathematics, under whose mentorship the students developed the drones, said that the drones would be able to take autonomous flights, track and contact other robots and drones, besides being able to function in places which are GPS-disabled.
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The project is under the umbrella of the Aerial Robotics Kharagpur (ARK) of IIT-K, one of many initiatives at the Institute designed to give students experience in research in their area of interest.
“The ARK is funded entirely by the Institute,” informs Kumar. The drones are being developed at the Centre for Excellence in Robotics (CER) which receives funding by IIT-K through the Centre for Excellence in Robotics (SRIC). The total amount of funding IIT has granted to SRIC is close to Rs 5 crore. This would help run 12 student projects at the CER.
Under ARK, students hope to work on a network of flexible aerial robotics which can have multiple uses such as assistance in search and rescue operations, controlling aerial vehicles, etc., says Kumar.
“There are several other projects the students of ARK are working on. The drone project is just one of them. Some of the projects include underwater vehicle movement and 3D printing, among others,” said Kumar.
Gaurav Gardi, an M.Sc Physics student and one of the participants of the project, said, “Robotics can be applied to a variety of fields such as agricultural technology, mining surveys and surveillance, among others. Aerial robotics helps in situations where the possibility of human interaction poses a problem.”
“Students from the ARK took part in the International Aerial Robotics Competition at Beijing in China this year in September where they won the Best Team Cooperation Award,” informs Kumar, adding that theirs was the only team from the country.
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