Advertisement
Sunday, Nov 28, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

IIT Madras Develops Algorithms For Drones To Study How Fire Behaves In Space Stations

A multirotor microgravity platform can also simulate reduced-gravity environments similar to Moon and Mars, thereby recreating those conditions on Earth for experiments.

IIT Madras Develops Algorithms For Drones To Study How Fire Behaves In Space Stations
The researchers have developed an algorithm that can precisely control multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) such as quadrotors or drones. | Representational Image
IIT Madras Develops Algorithms For Drones To Study How Fire Behaves In Space Stations
outlookindia.com
2021-06-27T16:32:18+05:30

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has developed algorithms for drones to help study how fire behaves in space stations, shuttles and satellites.

According to the researchers at IIT Madras, a multirotor microgravity platform can also simulate reduced-gravity environments similar to Moon and Mars, thereby recreating those conditions on Earth for experiments.

The researchers claim that at present, generating microgravity (gravity experienced is close to zero) is possible only through space stations, satellites, space shuttles, sounding rockets, and drop towers, almost all of which are beyond the reach of most educational institutions in India.

"Another option is to use 'free-fall' flights on Earth to create microgravity. The free fall of sounding rockets and free fall of payloads from high altitude balloons and drop towers can also enable microgravity," Kedarisetty Siddhardha, research scholar, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras said.

"These microgravity platforms provide stable and high-quality microgravity. However, it takes a few months to years to gain access to any of the existing microgravity platforms. Moreover, the cost to access these platforms' services is not affordable by many educational and research institutions," he added.

The team has developed an algorithm that can precisely control multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) such as quadrotors or drones. The team has published this research in reputed peer-reviewed international journals, including Aerospace Systems, Aerospace Science and Technology, and Microgravity Science and Technology.

"These algorithms and techniques for multirotor UAV control could accurately maintain its acceleration. Although multirotor UAVs currently do not have high payload capacities, they are readily available at a low cost, making them accessible to all. We have conducted flight tests using a quadrotor and a hexrotor that we developed and found that those flights attained stable and high-quality microgravity levels," he said.

"The research team showed that existing quadrotors could be turned into microgravity platforms via minor design modifications and appropriate control, estimation, and automation algorithms. Furthermore, the methods and algorithms developed by us for turning multirotors into microgravity platforms are generic. So, they can be replicated easily to create multirotor microgravity platforms with high payload capacities," Siddhardha added.

The two multirotors that the team built and flew are the first UAVs to conduct on board experiments in microgravity. Earlier, efforts by other researchers to make UAVs as microgravity platforms did not see much success as those platforms could not attain gravity levels close to zero.

"While most conventional microgravity platforms can simulate only microgravity, a multirotor microgravity platform can also simulate reduced-gravity environments like that on the Moon and Mars.

"All it takes is a change in one parameter in the software that Siddhardha embeds in his multirotor that autonomously performs the manoeuvres required to achieve the level of gravity needed," said Joel George Manathara, Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras.

The team has carried out experiments on board his multirotor microgravity platforms to observe capillary action as well as the change in the shape of the liquid meniscus in microgravity.

"These experiments undoubtedly prove that multirotors can be turned into platforms on which microgravity experiments can be carried out. Nowadays, almost every educational institution has a robotics lab or a flying club with multirotors. Thus, this research opens up the possibility of conducting experiments in microgravity at every university in India," Siddhardha said.

(PTI inputs)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

Omicron: New Strain Of Coronavirus Escalates Need For Global Vaccine Sharing

'Despite the repeated warnings of health leaders, our failure to put vaccines into the arms of people in the developing world is now coming back to haunt us', wrote former British PM Gordon Brown.

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Covid-19: Experts' Take On Omicron And Possibility Of Third Wave In India

Though the health experts and scientists in India have advised caution yet they feel that the current immune profile of the majority of the population in India makes them less vulnerable to Omicron as compared to any other country in the world.

1st Test: India Need 9 Wickets To Win Vs NZ On Final Day

1st Test: India Need 9 Wickets To Win Vs NZ On Final Day

From 51/5, half-centuries by Shreyas Iyer and Wriddhiman Saha helped India declare at 234/7. New Zealand (4/1) need 280 runs to win on Day 5 on Monday.

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

What Is Omicron: All You Need To Know About The New Coronavirus Strain

After the detrimental Delta variant which took the world by storm in the second wave of Covid-19, WHO recently declared ‘Omicron’ as the latest ‘variant of concern’ (VOC).

Advertisement