Hyderabad: Drones are being used in a variety of sectors ranging from defence to mining to urbanisation but an all-women team from Hyderabad has used drones to prevent sexual harassment on streets and promote women’s safety. The prototype solution was declared winner of the Hackadrone 2018 organised by Cyient in association with DJI, Microsoft and government of Telangana.
The team comprising of one student – Pragya Kondrakunta – and two assistant professors – Fatima and Swapna Bhandari – from Keshav Memorial Institute of Technology won the competition that was held in the Cyient’s office in Hyderabad. The solution developed by Team Drone Force identifies when a victim needs help by sending real-time alerts to a control station and registered guardians. The control station immediately deploys a UAV to the victim’s location, ensuring immediate and preventive action.
Hackadrone was a four-day event wherein seven teams showcased their products to a three-member jury. These seven teams were selected from 4,500 registrations and 617 proposals that the event had received from all over India and it included startups, students, technology professionals and developers.
The event said to be India’s first UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) hackathon facilitated innovative solutions for both commercial and industrial space. Participating teams competed to develop original software applications on the DJI industrial drone platform. Industry options included utilities, telecommunications, energy and natural resources, smart cities, navigation, security, transportation, and agriculture. The finalists were judged based on the uniqueness of their solutions, scalability when applied to the real world, and demonstrability of their vision.
The second position was won by the Team FLY Ranger from Bengaluru that developed a prototype for warehouse and order-fulfilment centre management with no GPS mapping. The system deploys UAVs to scan product barcodes and uses stereo cameras to map the area for the distance between a drone and other surface or objects. While the winning team won a cash prize of Rs 3,00,000, the runner-up got Rs 1,00,000.
Speaking about the Hackadrone, Cyient founder and executive chairman B V R Mohan Reddy said, “The competition was envisioned with an objective of stimulating innovation across India for drone application. Use of deep technology can help solve social issues in agriculture, national security, and public safety. We saw strong participation from student community, startups and MNCs.”
‘Teams can showcase their product to govt’
While an all-women team from Hyderabad has won the Hackadrone, the Telangana IT Minister K T Rama Rao said that all the seven finalists will be given an opportunity to showcase their work to the government and if the solutions are found suitable it will be pursued further.
“Drone technology can provide a host of solutions to a host of issues ranging from urbanisation to mining to agriculture. And the technology is just emerging in India and we are keen to encourage this technology for our own growth in the State. In this sense, these seven different products showcased at the Hackadrone will be able to provide solutions to our problems. Our government will provide an opportunity to these finalists to showcase their proof of concept (POC) and if we find it viable we will definitely provide all the support needed,” Rama Rao said.
The Minister also spoke about how rapid urbanisation is going to change the face of India in the next 50 years and said that by 2030 about 50 per cent of India’s population will live in cities. So for all this to be successful, technologies like drones will be useful, he said and added that they can be used to map mines and also to detect any deviation in building structures across cities.
Speaking about the different initiatives taken by the government in the last two years in using drones, Telangana IT principal secretary, Jayesh Ranjan said, “There have been two occassions where we have used drones – once during planning of Yadadri Temple and second during Krishna Pushkaralu. As a State we have a dedicated policy on Internet of Things (IoT).”