How 3D Printing came to the rescue in Fire Surveillance Drone for this final year student in Bangalore
As Unmanned Aerial Vehicles a.k.a Drones made their first flight through my brains – I’ve been going gaga over it. Pursuing my B.E at NMIT, Bangalore, I chose to explore more about drones as part of my final year project. During search and rescue operations, every second counts. In order to function as efficiently as possible, it is important to be able to obtain a rapid overview of the situation, the type of view that is often only possible from the sky. Thinking about how firefighters jeopardize their own lives in order to extinguish a fire, we as a team designed a system with the objective of providing live intel regarding the fire from an aerial perspective. The project titled – Fire Surveillance Drone. This was made possible by equipping a drone with a thermal imaging camera and various other fire detecting sensors that could help in providing more useful data about the fire to the base station.
Unmanned Aerial vehicles have 2 modes of autonomy, one being flown by a pilot manually and the other being the aircraft flown completely autonomous. We were successful in achieving both these modes. This was possible by using the PX4 Pixhawk flight controller which has a GPS and compass compatibility. The software called Mission Planner was used for the autonomous feature. By setting up and giving the way points required and other attributes, the aircraft was able to take off, complete the mission and also land all by itself.
Our Concept of the fire surveillance drone contained 2 drones. One drone was equipped with the fire detecting sensors which would capture data regarding the situation, process it and alert the nearest fire station if a fire was detected. All the data was also wirelessly transmitted to the second drone and then this drone would transmit this back to the ground station. We wanted to show that multiple drones in the sky which could communicate with each other was a viable idea. The second drone as well as being a transmitting node, was also equipped with a FLIR Lepton Thermal Camera. Thermal cameras detect the heat signatures which are emitted from anybody and help us detect the difference in the temperature in any area.
These thermal cameras being very expensive needed to be protected. This is when we needed some kind of safety cover for the thermal camera. Surfing the web, we luckily came across Altem Technologies who showed their support by agreeing to 3D print a protection cover case for the flir. Even though we had a time constraint, the people behind the desk at ALTEM worked real hard to make this possible. The technical team was really efficient in printing it very precisely and also delivering it in just 3 days. This really helped us not worry too much about the safety of the camera every time we worked on the project. I thank the entire team of ALTEM for helping us out In this matter and I wish them good luck for the future.