A research students group from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur has developed an autonomous unmanned aerial superpower drone for surveillance and para-dropping.
It is the India's first indigenous superpower drone “BHIM” with advanced features such as aerial surveillance, para-dropping of emergency supplies and post-disaster rescue operations.
The super power drone is designed just under a metre in length; the creator says that BHIM’s uniqueness lies in the unmanned aerial device's state-of-the-art protection shield, superior imagery and hitherto unknown abilities. Also, it can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1-km radius when it flies overhead.
The drone will typically find its application in aerial surveillance of areas with remote access. The most attractive feature of the drone for which it was named ‘BHIM’ is its ability to maintain long flight times and drop emergency supplies accurately using parachutes.
Especially it is designed for conflict zones and it has a battery backup of seven hours. With the long lasting battery backup feature, it can fly into a disaster zone and create a seamless communication network for security forces, rescue personnel and even the common man.
The real edge of BHIM lies in its ability to maintain long flight times and drop emergency supplies by using parachutes. The drone can be used to deliver network connectivity where there is no conventional communication infrastructure. This feature enables its use for networked robotics.
It can also be used for rescue operations in remote and hard-to-access areas. In a country like India with a long land border with several countries and the tension at various border regions, this drone could be highly effective in disturbed areas in the border. Currently a large number of security personnel are engaged in patrolling. They can be supplemented with BHIM. The drone can conduct integrity check for boundary walls and find out breaches if any.
Designed especially for emergency situations, the automated drone has an actual vision-based guidance with built-in intelligence that helps it identify if an area is crowded or not. It will then fly away and land in a safer place.
“It is powered by a complex combination of hardware and algorithms for drone stabilization against external environmental effects, object identification using deep learning and multi-radio communication between it and multiple ground-based observation stations. A graphic user interface has been created for accessing the aerial images and controlling various communication tasks. All these features set this BHIM drone miles apart from existing commercial drones.” explained Prof. Misra at IIT-Kharagpur.
Prof. Misra is keen on seeing BHIM being used for addressing any societal problems. He is looking for any potential collaborator or partner in government or industry for transfer of technology.