Some flew and landed. Some refused to take off. Others crashed. They were the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of ten finalists at Srinivasapura airfield, 85 km from Bangalore. On a windy day, the ten teams that made it to the finals, selected from 270 engineering colleges across the country, struggled as their machines rose to the challenge.
Students had to design UAV models that could fly at a minimum height of 50 metres and send back live pictures of man-sized objects to a screen that doubled as control room on the ground. There were machines in various shapes and sizes, and some had rotors for a vertical take-off. Finalists flew deployable low-cost surveillance systems with realtime access to sensor imagery.
A team from Thapar University, Patiala, won first prize of Rs 3 lakh. The second prize of Rs 2 lakh went to IIT Madras, and a consolation prize of Rs 50,000 went to the Madras Institute of Technology. The event was part of Defence Research and Development Organisation’s golden jubilee celebrations.
“Such events will fuel interest in the areas of aviation and defence research. We hope to make it an annual event,’’ said PS Krishnan, director, Aeronautical Development Establishment.