Homemade drone and the story behind it

The Center for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is the leading organization for research and development in information technology, electronics and related fields. The organization is currently working in the fields of Exascale Computing, Quantum Computing, IoT, and Blockchain along with many others.

C-DAC recently launched its own drone, Indus Copter, developed on a local board – Indus IoT. C-DAC claims the drone could help find infected areas on agricultural fields, to check the health of lakes, or even help check air quality at various levels. to know more, India Analytics Journal I got to the C-DAC.

Objective: What is the difference between Indus IoT and other boards on the market?

When you look at the differences between the current board we offer and the boards available in the market with similar functionality, the main difference comes in the way we support the sensor interfaces.

When you look at other market products, if you have to integrate a sensor with that board, you need to stack another board with the sensor in it. On the other hand, the Indus IoT comes with six sensors which we offer at the competitive price that the market generally offers in other boards without all these sensors on board. So, that’s the main USP our board comes with.

Objective: How was the drone conceived?

In October 2021, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, visited the C-DAC facility in Bangalore and happened to launch our Indus IoT board during that time.

During the launch, suggest why not make this board a drone controller. Based on the suggestion, we started working on the drone. Keeping the Indus IoT as the console, we started looking for potential applications that traditional drone developers hadn’t considered at the time.

As a result, we have explored the quality of the water distributed in the infected lakes as well as agricultural fields. There was no application to separate these types of lakes or fields, and so we started working on a drone with these applications in mind.

AIM: The drone has USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0 or USB Type C, why is that?

We must understand that for all drones or any equipment, there will be multiple use cases at the same time. We should not use it just because the technology is available. Depends on cost and supply chain requirements.

While our system comes under small drones, the application platform does not change. Since we also want to make this a development platform for people to learn drone applications, it should also be as cost-effective as possible for people to try it out.

The bandwidth requirement comes in there when we’re transmitting video over the drone, which we did. All data can be transmitted wirelessly via Bluetooth. USB is only required when the drone needs some upgrade, thus, USB 2.0 is perfect as per our requirements.

The goal: AI in drones is a core technology, so why doesn’t Indus Copter have it?

You are right, AI is a very important part of the drone ecosystem nowadays. We have a model coming in a couple of months that will have AI capability on board.

We’re also working a couple of ways, one is kind of edge computing in the drone and then we have a dedicated server for the other processing. So, it’s kind of like two computers working together synchronously to optimize the inside of the data in real time. This is all coming very quickly and we are also in discussion with an IIT professor who works in this field.

Goal: You’re working on Blockchain elections too, what’s stopping you from implementing them?

It is not just voting but the whole process that needs to be innovated, for example, securing a candidate’s entry to vote, or verifying their identity. Only the blockchain will ensure that integrity is maintained and there is no doubt that there is no false claim or anything like that. The architecture eliminates a single point of failure and inherently protects sensitive citizen and government data.

However, the implementation part requires a lot of processes that have to be agreed upon by the Election Commission. When the administrative authorities agree on the large scale, only then can they proceed. The same is the case of decentralized identity. This concept is revolutionary but India has about 1.3 billion people and it depends on the administration how to proceed with it now.

Leave a Comment