The beginning of my final year in 2013 saw an inspiration in the form of a TED talk by Dr. Rafaello D’andrea which brought up the plethora of capabilities and applications of multirotor vehicles. With that ambition we began working on drones for our final year project. The same platform now hosts the applications developed at RADLAB, SFIT. Despite many falls and crashes that Phoenix has endured, it serves an inspiration to undergrads of SFIT. Phoenix is now resting in the lab until the time when the blanket ban on drones in the city is lifted. Below are some of the projects I implemented on Phoenix.
In our quest to seek real world application for a drone, we came across a Police Inspector from Mumbai Police. During the course of our discussions the officer mentioned the hardships the police face during riot control. Launching smoke grenades incognito is one of the strategies implemented by the police during riot control, but the precision needed for this task is often very difficult to achieve. We developed an attachment for our drone which could carry up to 4 grenades. Now the pilot of the drone is under complete control of where and when to launch the grenades, also they can stay incognito and control proceeding from a distance without incurring any injury from the often violent crowd.
In this application under development, we are trying to create a geo-tagged map of a farmland from pictures captured by the drone. The quadcopter is equipped with a SJ4000 camera on a 2- axis gimbal. The weather was sunny, the sky was clear and winds were flowing almost evenly with occasional speed variations. The plantation consisted of parallel columns of green Chili crops about one and half feet away from each other. The crops had grown to a height of 1.5 -2 ft. Every 25 ft in the same field were Chickoo trees which had grown to a height of about 8-12 ft. This location was selected based on the even distribution and growth of the crop. The Quadcopter was flown at a height of 25-35 ft over the field with the camera mounted to face the land providing a top view of the crops. The whole length of the test field was covered in 3 minutes.
During our interaction with an academician working on Wireless Sensor
Networks (WSN), we encountered an opportunity to tackle one of the most
daunting challenges in WSN viz. Effective data collection. The traditional
centralised collection point strategy is vulnerable to a single point of
failure and leads to very high power consumption which is undesirable in
WSN applications of huge scale. Using the Drone platform for data collection
from the wireless sensor nodes is an option being explored by a team am
working with at the RadLab SFIT.
Find more details and updates regarding Phoenix @ RadLab SFIT.