Published: 09th October 2019
IIT Madras students develop drone-based tech to spot survivors during disasters and fetch rescue ASAP
IIT M students have used data from previous disasters to programme a system that uses a set of drones to find people who may be trapped and send their locations to rescue forces in real-time
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) students have developed an ‘Eye in the Sky’ drone-based system for Disaster Management and Aid Services. A team from Centre For Innovation (CFI), IIT Madras, is building drones enabled with Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision to develop an end-to-end solution for identifying with a high degree of accuracy people trapped in disaster-hit areas and communicate them to the relief task force.
What makes ‘Eye in the Sky’ unique is that its analytical modules are based on the latest available technology with the team creating their own databases for some of the modules. Occluded people detection and Swarm Intelligence Modules are entirely state-of-the-art and work is based on the experience of past data on disaster management.
Speaking about the project, Ayush Parasbhai Maniar, Student Member, UAVs For Disaster Management, CFI-IIT Madras, said, “We propose to use a team of drones which can scan the entire disaster-affected region in just a few minutes, analyse, and provide critical data that could potentially save lives. The final aim of our start-up is to make end-to-end drone software solutions that can be used by any Disaster Response Force of the world and thus help in saving thousands of lives.”
The ‘Eye in the Sky’ Team won the finals of Indian Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP 2.0) University Challenge held at IIT Bombay recently. They were among ‘Top 18 Innovative Start-ups’ from all over the nation and will receive Rs 10 lakh-worth of equity-less funding. The team has also received the ‘Microsoft AI For Earth’ Grant given to only 390 projects globally.
Further, Prof Shankar said, “With further marginal development it can be extensively used in surveillance operations. It is not without reason that Microsoft and Lockheed Martin have recognised this effort. The innovation team is working with NDMA and Armed Forces to develop and deploy indigenous technologies for totally Indian solutions to Indian problems.”
Air Force and Army readily respond to the needs of the affected community in all possible ways. ‘Eye in the Sky’ can also help them to conduct an efficient aerial survey, to help provide food and water supplies and other medical and safety aids to marooned and trapped populations. It can also help them to rebuild a collapsed communication channel and can provide navigation support.
The India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) 2.0 is a unique tripartite initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt of India, American global defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corporation and Tata Trusts. A total of 843 teams from various Universities and Startups participated of which 40 were shortlisted for the ‘DownSelect’ event at IIT Bombay.
Role of Local relief task forces and NGOs remains crucial in all phases of disaster management. The ‘Eye in the Sky’ can help them in documenting the findings of the assessments, identify available resources and capabilities and provide the information to the disaster administration to overcome vulnerabilities and address risks.