Verna: As part of the final year project, students at Agnel Polytechnic, Verna of Mechanical Engineering Department designed and developed an Unarmed Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Prathamesh Umesh Patyeker, Aryan Amol Naik, Pratham Manorath Madkaikar, and Anant alias Devang Deepakraj Keny are the four team members. Mr. Ramnath Sarmalker, Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Parag Bhat, Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department, are the project guides.

The drone is a hybrid of a quadcopter and a regular aircraft. It takes off like a quadcopter and then transitions into a regular plane in mid-flight. Once it reaches a particular height, a transition will be made where the front two motors will turn from 90-degrees to 0-degree and continue to fly like a conventional plane. The aircraft broadcasts live data telemetry comprising video and computed data to the base station, which changes the variables in mid-flight. It accomplishes this with the aid of two video cameras that transfer data to the ground station across a distance of 3+ kilometres with no radio or electronic wave interference.

Additionally, if the radio controller signal is lost, auto features such as automatic return to launch are activated via GPS locking. It can carry a 1 kg payload and has a Bluetooth range of up to 15 metres.

Furthermore, the Drone can fly as far as about 2 kms in a clean environment- free of radio and electronic waves and supports optional gimbal mounting along with fly-by-wire system.

“We have designed and built a model looking at the current situation of our country,” the team explained. “For the fuselage, we used Styrofoam and high-density foam, and for the wing, we used Styrofoam, fibreglass, and wood dowels. It is constructed in such a way that it can take off and land on any surface without a runway.”

They further added, “It has a streamline construction that allows it to cut through the air with no drag. The UAV’s tail is ‘V’ shaped in contrast to ‘T’ shaped aeroplane tail as per America’s most lethal drone MQ9 reaper. The reason for choosing this design is that, such tails are particularly aerodynamically efficient. They have a 1 kg payload and have capabilities such as auto return to the source, auto mission, waypoint mission, geo fence, and 3D mapping. Future versions might comprise military-grade materials.”

The team concluded saying, “Our project will pave the way for future advancements in this technology. We’d like to continue working on this project in order to make future advancements in this sector and to gain electronic warfare capabilities. Future advancement to our project will assist our country in reaching its full potential and making a name for itself in this field.”