A team from Delhi Technological University (DTU) recently won the third position in an unmanned aerial systems competition held in the US. Aaditi Isaac reports
The 11-member team from Delhi Technological University (DTU) came third in the 10th Annual Students' Unmanned Aerial Systems competition organised by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Maryland, US.
The team designed and developed the Garuda — an unmanned aircraft, which can be used for taking high definition photographs.
Talking about the features of the aircraft, Bhavya Narain Gupta, second year, BTech engineering physics, DTU, says, "The aircraft is capable of taking high definition photographs through the G10 camera at a range of 150-750 feet above the mean sea level. The images are tagged with the GPS location and are processed for information at the ground station through a software made by the team. The unmanned aircraft flew at 300 feet above the ground level. We made the aircraft free of control through the autopilot, which helped in the autonomous take-off, navigation and landing for 20 minutes."
Weighing 11kg with a wing span of 110 inches, the unmanned aircraft whose primary construction comprised balsa wood, etc, had an electric propulsion system. Two representatives from Lockheed Martin, the world's largest defence contractor, a professor from DTU and the vice-chancellor mentored the students.
It took the team seven months to perfect the systems of the aircraft. The team faced a lot of challenges in the process. "We knew that making it would take time, so we tried to finish it as soon as possible so that it did not affect our academic life. We do not have an aeronautics background and so we had to first get our basics right. There are no flying fields in and around our campus, so we drove for three hours and went to the fields of Sohna and Karnal to test our UAV. Every time we did a test-flight, the plane crashed and we had to rebuild it. Two months before the competition, there were six crashes in a row. We had to do it again and again. We also had time and budget constraints," he says.
Giving details of the competition, Gupta says that it consisted of a journal submission, oral presentation and an actual mission flight, which decided the rankings of the team.
"Working on the projects has given us an insight into the world of engineering, which a classroom never can. With the aid of these projects, we have become holistic in our approach as engineers and seek for a bigger picture in life. We are also working on another unmanned flight Aarush X-1 and exhibiting it in International Conference for UAVs (ICAUV) 2012. We are preparing for the public flight demonstration of Aarush X-1 to government officials, defence officials as well as representatives from the civil sectors of our country," he concludes.
Times of India