Kerala engineering students develop drone to detect stranded people


By Express News Service

KOCHI: Drones can do much more than taking pictures or surveillance. One of the major challenges of the 2018 floods was to locate stranded people in densely populated villages and towns.

Due to this, the rescue workers weren’t able to reach many stranded people on time.To overcome such situations in future, students from Government Engineering College, Thrissur, has come up with a solution as part of their final  year project — a drone that can help detect stranded people during disasters. Students of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering department — Sruthi M S, Nandana V N, Lakshmi S and Manal Jaleel Poovathingal — came up with the innovation.

“After several brainstorming sessions, we zeroed in on the drone project to make rescue operations easier,” said Sruthi. 

The project was pursued under the guidance of Rajesh K, assistant professor of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering department of the college.“The drone uses a YOLO v5 algorithm, which means it is a single-stage object detector. This feature helps in detecting only the humans in isolated areas. It also marks the location of the detected people on a map and transmits real-time information to those involved in rescue operations such as the police and fire and rescue services officers,” says Sruthi.  

The drone can travel at a maximum speed of 15m/s, and can fly up to a height of 10 metres. “The drone was completed using the parts which were open-sourced. The overall cost was `24,350 and it was covered using the funds raised by us. It is cheaper when compared to typical commercial drones which cost close to `50,000. The technical assistance for the project was provided by the International Centre for Open Source Software (ICFOSS),” said the team. 

They recently secured first place in the final year project awards 2021, under the hardware stream, organised by Genskill in association with IEEE LINK and Strategic Initiatives academic engagement, IEEE Kerala section.

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