Anna University embarks on R&D to deploy 50-drone swarms

He said that 26 researchers from across the country will be hired to work on the project.
Under the project, Dhaksha will provide funding of Rs 2.2 crore to develop algorithms for deploying drone swarms for various defense and civil operations.
Under the project, Dhaksha will provide funding of Rs 2.2 crore to develop algorithms for deploying drone swarms for various defense and civil operations.

CHENNAI: Anna University and Dhaksha Unmanned Systems Private limited have entered into agreement to research and develop algorithms to deploy swarm drones with over 50 units.

Under the project, Dhaksha will provide funding of Rs 2.2 crore to develop algorithms for deploying drone swarms for various defense and civil operations. The parties will also collaborate to develop hardware and software that will help in manufacturing swarm drones that can be used in disaster management or military operations, said a university official.

“Our first job is to develop an algorithm through which more than 50 swarm drones can coordinate their activities, carry out surveillance for at least 100km of area, provide real time information, and carry out rescue or attack missions,” said Senthil Kumar, professor, aerospace engineering department, MIT, Anna University,

He said that 26 researchers from across the country will be hired to work on the project . “Many former scientists of ISRO will also work with us and provide guidance,” said Kumar.

Dhaksha, a drone manufacturing company, which has technology partnership with Anna University, has signed the agreement initially for a period of one year.

Further funding will be provided after assessing its progress and project tenure will be extended. Mylswamy Annadurai, who was instrumental in developing Chandrayaan-I spacecraft, has been roped in to provide guidance for the project.

Daksha had won the Mehar Baba award for best swarm drone architecture in 2021. The Indian Air Force conducts the Mehar Baba competition to encourage development of swarm drones for the utilisation in varied domains, including response to disaster relief operations.

“For the Mehar Baba competition, we had developed an algorithm to fly 20 drones at a time. But now we aim to fly over 50 swarm drones. The drones should be able to communicate data with each other, survey the area accurately, return to its landing location after finishing the task and perform in adverse conditions,” said Kumar.

Move as one

A drone swarm is a large group of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that work together as a unified and coordinated entity

Swarm drones are designed to take shape of natural swarms - like birds, insects, and fish - where individual entities interact and collaborate to accomplish tasks that would be challenging or impossible for a single unit to achieve

For example, in case of forest fire spread over a huge area, swarm drones can be deployed to douse flames, or they can be used for defense operations to attack an enemy base in disguise

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