A bunch of engineering students watched ‘3 Idiots’. What they did after that is pretty awesome.

This team of budding engineers has designed an unmanned air system that can send high quality images and can even drop things like food packets in needy areas. Know more about the amazing design and how you can help the team to scale up.

The popular Hindi movie 3 idiots inspired a couple of engineers from Shastri Park so much that they designed an unmanned aerial system.

The team called ZeppelinFC-26 has made a drone which is completely autonomous and is capable of take off, flight and landing. Not only this, the drone can also provide a live video feed even when it is 32 kms away from you.

“There are very few opportunities and people involved with aero-modelling in India. We hope to take our model to a larger scale and start manufacturing it in the country,” says Vaibhav Gangwar, one of the team members of ZeppelinFC-26.

The team is now all set to participate in a competition named AUVSI Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) held every year in the USA, which is judged by the military officials of the US Army.

The team is all set to participate in the international contest.

The team is all set to participate in the international contest.

Zephyr, the system developed by ZeppelinFC-26 for this year’s competition, is able to conduct successful missions through the integration of mechanical, imagery, and navigation systems.

The UAV frame is a High-Wing RC plane, which has been designed and modified on Solid Works, by taking help from plans available on the internet, and reinforced for better flight integrity and modified for carrying a payload.

Garmin VIRB Sports and Action camera is used for gathering imagery up to 1080p. Image telemetry is controlled on-board the aircraft through a AOMWAY TX1000, RX04 Receiver and Transmitter which can be remotely accessed through a 5.8GHz wireless bridge.

The autopilot used is the HKpilot32 Autopilot by Hobbyking. Images are sent through the 5.8GHz wireless bridge to a ground station computer running target detection software developed by ZeppelinFC-26. The software helps recognizing and decoding the QR code target from the images captured and stored on the ground control station. The model also has an airdrop mechanism, which can drop an egg or a bomb or anything else, wherever you want, at a single click.

The USP of this team’s model is its low cost, which is one-fifth that of a regular model available in the market.

The model can also show live video feed.

The model can also show live video feed.

While a similar model is available for Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000, our model costs just Rs. 5,000,” says Gangwar.

The team took around four months to prepare the final model, after making four prototypes. They are now all set to participate in AUVSI SUAS 2015, which will be a great exposure and learning experience for these young engineers.

In the future, they want to start their own manufacturing unit to make the drone technology more popular and affordable in India to potential hobbyists who cannot buy the expensive drone chassis available on Indian sites today.

The team took four months to prepare the final mode.

The team took four months to prepare the final model.

“With more people getting access to this technology, the country and this field will benefit a lot. Mostly, people do not have enough knowledge about it. We hope we can bring it in to the limelight,” he says.

Initially it was a tough task for the team to design the prototype due to a lack of financial and technical support, but their passion kept them going and they chipped in their own savings to prepare the prototype.

“We didn’t know whom to contact or what to do. Even our college did not support us in this. So we did our entire research over the internet and went ahead with it,” Gangwar says.

The team hopes to participate in the competition which will be held from the 17th to 22nd June in the USA, but a lack of funds is coming in the way. The students have started a crowd-funding campaign on Milaap where they are raising funds for the entire team’s cost to travel and participate in the global contest. Watch their fundraiser video which explains their campaign better:

To support their efforts, check out their campaign page.

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