A five-member student team from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) has for the first time in India developed an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) with an autopilot system. But despite their efforts, aimed at participation in the Eight Annual Student Unmanned System Competition in Maryland, USA, on July 1, they came up against a problem – funding.
“The total cost of the project is about Rs8 crore (including participation in the competition in USA). Despite MSRIT’s funding, we fell short by about ¤4 crore,” said Dr MK Muralidharan, head of mechanical engineering department, MSRIT. The autopilot system does not require a remote control to manoeuvre the electrically driven aircraft which will compete in the 5-7kg weight category at the event in USA. The MSRIT team’s UAV can fly at speeds between 15-25 metres per second.
But help did come the way of the team members—R Prasanna, Prateek Khanna (both 3rd year), Srikanth Singh, Rahul Rajarsee (both 2nd year) and Vishnu BV (1st year)—in the form of MP Rajeev Chandrsekhar and a third year student of MSRIT’s department of chemical engineering, N Murari, who funded ¤4 lakh to ensure their participation in the event which will see a total of 31 universities and institutions from different countries.