11 Mar 2021 16:14 IST

A ‘G1’ for saving a ‘jeevan’ in difficult terrains

Sahyadri students and winners of Smart India Hackathon 2020 (Hardware Edition).

A team of students from Sahyadri college came out with a UAV to make delivery of essential medicines easy

Lack of last-mile connectivity — in terms of transportation and supply chain infrastructure — to remote rural areas in difficult terrains during disasters and normal times affects the supply of life-saving and important medicines and other products related to healthcare.

Keeping this in mind, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had placed problem statement on the need to create a national drone delivery system to carry urgent medicines to patients in need in hilly and inaccessible areas to solve this last-mile connectivity problem in the ‘Smart India Hackathon 2020 (Hardware Edition)’. The participating teams were to build an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could be used in emergencies and disaster prone areas and that can deliver essential medical products / blood in the quickest possible time.

Innovative solutions

A team of students from the Mangaluru-based Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management, which came up with a solution by developing an autonomous hybrid VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft with a folding wing configuration for the last-mile delivery of medicines in rural and remote areas, reached the finals under the above-mentioned category.

The students of the college — Srujan U, Jaison D'souza, Manish E S, Swathi, Pranav Satish, Jeevan K, and Sohan M Rai — are the members of SMART (Sahyadri Micro Aerial Robotics Team) that participated in the hackathon. Srujan, team leader of SMART, said that his team came out with ‘G1’ (Guardian One) a reliable, easy-to-operate and efficient hybrid UAV with quad-copter for the delivery of essential medicines in difficult terrains.

Mentioning that 'G1' is compact and practically feasible, he said it has a payload capacity of up to 4 kg providing a flight time of 45 minutes. Using G1’s app, the user will be able to select the required medicines to be delivered and also the delivery point where the package to be deployed. The user can also track the location of the package and confirm the package deployment. The container carrying the package is temperature controlled, ensuring the safe delivery of medicines.

‘NEP thrust’

Stating that the college encourages innovation among its students, Manish E S, member of SMART, said students from different classes and branches come together to do projects of their interest. His team members had interest in aerial vehicles and the problem statement in the hackathon attracted them to come out with this solution.

Asked about the USP of their solution, Manish said theirs was efficient in the parameters mentioned in the problem statement, and it is an autonomous hybrid VTOL aircraft. The unique thing is that the error rate is completely reduced, as there is no human and vehicle interaction in this and is completely autonomous.

Explaining the advantages of G1, Jeevan K, another team member, said it can travel at a maximum speed of 110 kmph and capable of take-off and landing vertically. With this, it utilises the time and energy for delivery. As a finalist in the hackathon, the team will now get experts’ advice on the refinements or requirements on the prototype during the incubation process by the government, Manish said.

Rajesha S, Principal of Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management, said that the National Education Policy, which was released last year, has given thrust for innovation in professional education courses. In fact, Sahyadri been encouraging students to focus on innovation by setting up innovation labs in 2015-16 itself. Students from different branches and classes come together to innovate and work on their own on the projects of their interest, he said.