A team of students from Indian Institute of Science bagged a coveted award at the Student Design Competition conducted by American Helicopter Society International. This is what the students had designed.
This August, four students from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, won the ‘Best New Entry – Graduate’ award at the Student Design Competition conducted annually by the American Helicopter Society International.
The challenge was to design a small helicopter that can carry packages weighing up to 10kgs and can deliver them in urban settings.
The eco-friendly aspect of the challenge was that the helicopter should function at a noise level lower than a prescribed limit, with minimal carbon footprint. Team Lakshya, of aerospace engineering department of IISc, came up with two solutions:
- To deliver lighter packages: A four-blade small helicopter (a quad-rotor, looks like a drone) that derives power from the vibrations of its blades.
- To deliver heavier packages: A conventional unmanned aerial vehicle
Both the vehicles partly derive power from their blades, thus reducing carbon footprint as compared to helicopters which are fully powered by fossil fuels.
The technology behind using energy from blade vibrations has been developed by the Non Linear Multifunctional Composites Analysis and Design (NMCAD) laboratory of the department of aerospace engineering in IISc. The institute is in the process of getting the technology patented. The team behind the development of this technology was crowned ultimate champion at the 4th edition of UNESCO-Airbus biennial innovation challenge, “Fly Your Ideas (FYI)” at Hamburg, Germany, in June this year.
American Helicopter Society organizes the Student Design Competition in association with other major helicopter companies, and this was the 32nd edition of the competition.
“The AHS International annual Student Design Competition challenges students to design a vertical lift aircraft that meets specified requirements, provides a practical exercise for engineering students at colleges and universities around the world and promotes student interest in vertical flight technology,” says that society’s website.
Every year, the organizers choose an open design problem and students have to submit their entries. The jury has academic and well as industry experts.
“It is indeed a proud moment and a wonderful experience to be recognised by the world’s most renowned vertical flight society,” said Rajnish Mallick, a doctoral graduate from IISc, who led Team Lakshya, to The Hindu.