Indian firm develops world's smallest, lightest UAV

Kolkata: Claimed to be the world's smallest and lightest, Carbon, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by a private firm can be used for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations besides disaster management and aerial photography.

It flies using four high-speed propellers (quadrotor) that allow vertical take-off and landing and built-in intelligence in the controller system makes the UAV to return to the starting point on its own.

"The quadrotor is a highly complex system compared to fixed wing, and it is one of the best in the world," says Hemendra Arya, Associate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Bombay.

"The device has been manufactured using carbon fiber composites, and hence the name. Carbon's intuitive point and click graphical user interface requires minimal user assistance," said 26-year-old Ashish Bhat, one of the founders of Mumbai-based ideaForge Technology, which developed it.

The Carbon weighs just 1.5 kilograms and has a range of one km. With externally swappable Li-Pc batteries, it can fly up to 30 minutes per battery charge.

On-board stabilisation is achieved by a smart intelligent auto-pilot controller receiving inputs from a GPS, gyro, magnetometers, accelerometers, and altitude sensors, he said.

Bhat's UAV has won a prize for the Best Autonomous Hovering Vehicle from among 16 international teams in the first US-Asian Demonstration and Assessment of Micro Aerial and Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology.