In a first of its kind a drone fest was recently organized in one of the northern states of India-Uttarakhand. Hosted at Dehradun by Drone Application and Research Centre and the Information Technology Development Agency (ITDA), the India Times reports. The Dronethan-Dronegiri had participants from 21 states of India competing on several drone performance criteria like stability, image recognition, speed and more.
Amit Sinha, Director ITDA told the Times of India, “Drones are the future and given the various inaccessible terrains of Uttarakhand where an RPAS remote pilot aircraft system is required for medical supply disaster relief and surveillance work. They are essential to create a platform for it. The fest is one such initiative.”
Dehradun or ‘Doon’ as it is commonly called played host to this first time drone fest which was attended by over 100 young participants and witnessed multiple drones of varying capabilities and characteristics. From some cool drones flying at 130 kph, to those with 2kg load bearing capacity and some others synthesized from e-waste. Participants from the state disaster management teams displayed powerful drones equipped with cameras, while others built their unmanned aerial vehicles from scratch which were programmed and calibrated for different tasks. The racing drone made by the IIT-Mumbai researcher Raman Verma was eye catching. These drones were pitted against each other through several competitions.
A drone operator Pawan Kumar Tamtam from Champawat’s District Disaster Management Department Authority (DDMA) who flew a high-end DJI drone fitted with 4K resolution camera said, “It had already helped us in nabbing some illegal miners. It can record such activities at a distance of 5 km and from an altitude of 500 metres.”
Ashutosh Pant, from DDMA Chamoli told Doon Times that drones enable the district authorities to conduct surveillance in SOS missions and save time. Given the terrain and climate of Uttarakhand which is a Himalayan region covered with forests very high peaks and glaciers and densely forested lower foothills, the area remains susceptible to several natural calamities like landslides and cloudbursts during monsoon and winters making Drones ideal equipment to aid in search and rescue missions in these inaccessible areas.
Sagar Sarkar, a 3rd year student from the University of Petroleum and Energy studies Dehradun lead a team of first year students with their racing drone that they’d built in a week. “We built it for just 15000 Rupees. Stability remained our focus, while we programmed and configured this machine, a very important factor for the success of a racing drone” he told the Times of India.
Komal Gurun another 1st year student with a racing drone says. “We need more such competitions and an all women drone fest.”
Showcasing their QPhantum drone built from e- waste and recycled Aluminum wires Nishant Singhal and Mohammad Shahrukh from a Rorkee University said that they challenged themselves to build a stable fast and state-of-the-art drone at the lowest price possible.
According to the government officials the goal of the competition was to encourage the drone industry emerge as an organized sector, draw rules and fix the gaps between industries and colleges with budding talent in the UAV sector.