Soon, hi-tech sensor to save drones from crash-landing | Hyderabad News

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HYDERABAD: Soon, drones in India can be sure of making a safe landing even when one of its motors shuts down. And it’s thanks to a new hi-tech sensor being developed by a team of researchers from the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH) and Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IITH).

Until now, this technology was available only for wide-body aircraft.



The new plug-and-play sensor, priced at Rs 50,000, can be used for any drone in the Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh range, researchers said. The solution is likely to be available in the market by end of 2024.

“Small drones used in agriculture, photography, or even delivery of small parcels, have no safety mechanism in place. As a result, they end up crashing when a motor fails. We are addressing this issue through our research,” said Harikumar Kandath, assistant professor, IIITH. He said that the team has built sensor algorithms, which will either help the drone make a safe landing or continue to fly, depending on the damage.

Explaining how the technology works, Kandath said that a sensor will be connected to each of the motors and whenever a motor fails, the algorithm will get re-configured. “The sensor is going to measure the speed of the motor. Whenever it detects a sudden reduction in speed, the sensor will get activated. The flight control algorithm will be changed to work on five motors instead of six,” he added.

Kandath, whose research areas include aerial robotics, control and coordination of multi-robot systems, and evolving controllers, among others, said that currently their solution will work for drones running on six motors, but they are also working on extending it to quad drones (which run on four motors). “This is going to be much more complex as a drone has to run on three motors if one of the motors fails,” he added.

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Researchers also pointed out that whether it is quad drones or six-motor drones, the solution will only work if one of the motors fails. “If more than one motor fails at the same time, the drone is going to crash,” Kandath clarified.

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