Drone community starts to evolve in state, says IT secy
Mr. M. Sivasankar IAS, IT Secretary, Government of Kerala, speaks during the inauguration of the one-day workshop, ‘Open Drone Summit’, organised by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) at B-Hub, Mar Ivanios Vidyanagar, Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram, on Sunday. (From right) Dr Dhayalan. R, Asst. Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIST, Thiruvananthapuram; and Mr R.S. Santhosh, Joint General Manager, Air Traffic Management, Airport Authority of India are also seen.
Noting that the significance of drone-based technologies cannot be ignored considering their applications for crucial tasks including disaster management, Shri M. Sivasankar IAS, IT Secretary, Government of Kerala, today said that the presence of a strong drone community is palpable in the state.

“Creating a community on drone technologies will open up opportunities for its local applications. The community supports capacity building and generation of innovative solutions using the technology,” Mr Sivasankar said while inaugurating a one-day workshop on ‘Open Drone Summit’, here.

The event was organised by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) at B-Hub, Mar Ivanios Vidyanagar, Nalanchira on Sunday.

Referring to the key role of drones in disaster management, he said “This workshop could handsomely come out with a set of paradigms that enable development of technology for people, which could support decision making in a meaningful fashion on the overall developmental and infrastructural planning process.”   

In the event of a natural disaster, drone-based technologies can be applied for critical tasks like delivery of medicines, food and even transportation, he noted.

 Mr Sivasankar also unveiled the ‘Flying Wing Drone’ developed by ICFOSS, promoted by the Government of Kerala. Its design is available on the website of ICFOSS and anyone can adopt and modify it to make their own drone.  The occasion also marked the formal launch of Open Drone Community in the state.

Over 60 drone enthusiasts attended the workshop, where extended interactions were held on various topics, including drone mapping.   

Researchers at ICFOSS published their works on Open Drones and allied applications along with demonstration of completed projects and models.

There was a presentation on “Regulatory environment for operation of drone in India” by Mr R.S. Santhosh, Joint General Manager, Air Traffic Management, Airport Authority of India.

The event also saw individuals and organisations showcasing their works on drone technology at the Mar Ivanios Ground.

Dr Jayashankar Prasad, Director, ICFOSS; and Dr Dhayalan. R, Asst. Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIST, Thiruvananthapuram, were also present on the occasion. 

The Drone/GIS development team at ICFOSS, engaged in research on 3D modelling and GIS analysis using low cost drones for the public, has developed two fully functional and working prototypes that are presently used for data acquisition for GIS applications.

These models include a Hexacopter and a flying wing, which are capable of flying fully autonomous flights. These open designs will enable any person to create a flying wing for less than Rs 10,000, which can be used with a bundle of free software like Open Drone Map to develop and analyze 3D models.
 
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