Kunal Naik, a member of the team that won at the Aerial Robotics Competition in Beijing tells Tushar Kaushik what made the victory possible
The group of eight engineering students of Aerospace engineering at Hindustan University, Chennai won the Best Sheepherder Award at Beihang University, Beijing, China. Team Recon, as they called themselves, competed against 9 other teams from across the world, and once again proved the innovation capabilities of India’s students. Kunal Naik, 21, one of the members of the team, explains what made their design stand out, and what impressed him in Beijing…
What exactly is project Recon?
We went for the International Aerial Robotics Competition, IARC 2015 Mission 7. The theme was Kill Switch with Collision Avoidance System. Basically they gave us 10 ground robots. We had to fly a drone autonomously, ie without any control or transmitter, which is done with the help of programming. Our drone had a camera inside, which saw the ground robots. Some robots had pipes on them. As we flew the drone near the robots, it had to avoid collisions with the robots, which was achieved by the collision avoidance system we installed inside it. So basically the drone had to fly autonomously without collisions with ground robots.
Why do you think your drone won the Best Sheepherder award?
Our drone flew well, and the collision avoidance was better than that of the others, which is what the judges liked. Our drone was also the lightest at 600g, because we used 3D printed parts from a 3D printer that 3-4 of us made by ourselves.
How did you all get into this competition?
We have been participating in this competition since 2013. So we knew about this from before, and from the last one year we were working on it.
With this win, you are also now enrolled in the IARC 2016 Mission 7 competition. Have you started work for it?
Actually they will tell us the theme soon, and we are working on it, we have begun programming in Chennai. It would be held in August.
How was the whole experience in China?
Compared to what I saw earlier, in the US there was advanced technology but in China there was great innovation. Even the small kids were using drones. We learnt a lot from their techniques and about coding systems. We also learnt a lot about weight and power management.