The name BHIM seems to be really catching on in the Indian tech world. After the Indian government recently launched the BHIM app that allows payments via the United Payments Interface (Read Here), a group of talented researchers at IIT Kharagpur have now designed the country’s first indigenous superpower drone by the same name.
Though just a metre long in length, the things that make BHIM standout from the rest of the drones is its unique state-of-the-art protection shield, superior imagery and hitherto unknown abilities. The name BHIM has been derived from Mahabharata’s epic warrior and second Pandava, Bhima.
The drone has been conceived and designed especially for emergency situations. It is capable of maintaining long flight times and drop emergency supplies like food etc. by parachutes. It can also be put to a great use in rescue operations in hard-to-access, remote areas. It also has the ability of conducting integrity checks for boundary walls and find out if there are any breaches.
The IIT drone can create a Wi-Fi zone within a nearly 1-km radius when it flies overhead and has a battery backup of up to seven hours, which means it can easily into a disaster or war zone and help the humanity by creating a seamless communication network for security forces, rescue personnel and the general public.
In case of a security emergency, the automated drone’s actual vision-based guidance with built-in intelligence helps it in identifying if a particular area is crowded or not so that it can fly away to another location and land their safely.
The IIT researchers made sure that BHIM is kept as much as lightweight as possible so it can perform the aforementioned functions without difficulty. They also made sure that the drone has strong body movements. In order to make the drone lightweight, the researchers made use of off-the-shelf indigenous components. This made BHIM cost just one-fourth the price of any average drone being currently used in India fro surveillance.
The superpower drone has been built by using the currently in trend technology- “IoT.” For the uninitiated, IoT represents a network of physical objects that are embedded with internet connectivity enabling them to collect and exchange information. The drone involves inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items embedded with electronics, sensors, actuators, software and network connectivity- which enables these objects to easily collect and exchange data.
According to Sudip Mishra, a faculty member of the computer science and engineering department, IIT Kharagpur, “Such advanced built-in intelligence is not available in drones now. The design is completely in-house. The controlling and guiding algorithms of the drone have been developed in our lab.” Mishra led the research along with another faculty member, N S Raghuvanshi, and research scholars Arijit Roy and Anandarup Mukherjee.
Mishra also notes that disaster management becomes much easier through seamless wireless communication which currently only the internet is capable of providing. However, in case of most emergencies and disaster situations, the Wi-Fi facilities on the ground are destroyed, and this is where an aerial Wi-Fi broadcast can come to a great use since radio communication has limited reach. He also added that anyone within the specific radius of the drone can log on to the drone and the team is currently working on increasing this reach.
The superpower drone was recently shown to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) when a team from the organisation visited the campus to inspect innovative network securities solutions that IIT-Kharagpur had successfully developed.