Theni forest fire: a trek that ended in tragedy

MIT team pitches in with drones

Scientists of the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) deployed drones to guide the rescuers at the Kolukkumalai forest area on Monday.

At the request of the State DGP, three teams led by K. Senthil Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, MIT, reached Kolukkumalai around 6 a.m. on Monday and launched three types of drones.

“With helicopters already deployed to trace the missing persons, our focus was more on guiding the rescue teams. The direction of the wind and its intensity were changing course off and on...we had to ensure the safety of the rescuers by providing them support through aerial surveillance,” Dr. Kumar said.

Since all the trekkers who went to Kolukkumalai were located and identified, there was no need to use the thermal cameras that can detect humans trapped in debris. “The drones were capable of covering an area of 5 km radius and we flew the unmanned aerial vehicles at three places. Some victims fell into a deep gorge while trying to flee...the drones gave clear visual images of the jungle terrain and coordinates for the police.”

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 2:26:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mit-team-pitches-in-with-drones/article23165775.ece

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