Bihar, the state that is most prone to floods in India, has been witnessing
heavy rainfall over the past few days. As rivers swell up due to heavy rains,
the state battles another round of floods and normal life has been thrown out of

A red warning was issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which
compelled the authorities in the region to begin rescue operations. Based on
past history, 76 percent of Northern Bihar is under the constant threat of
floods, while 16.5 percent of the total flood affected area in India is

In the past, many flood-affected states in the country have benefited from drone
technology for rescue operations including the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 and
the Kerala floods in 2018. Drones are most commonly used for surveying locations
that cannot be accessed by vehicles or workers. Surveying roads, flooded areas
or congested city landscapes are the appropriate assignments for drone

Here are a few drone technology startups from the country that have helped with
floods in the past, and could be of immense help in flood-affected Bihar.

Netra by ideaForge
[] , an IIT-Bombay based company that deals with alternative energy charging
devices, built a product namedNetra, an autonomously hovering UAV (Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle). Netra was put to significant use during the 2013 Uttarakhand
floods, for assistance in rescue operations. Multiple devices were deployed to
scan air space and locate missing people.

Netra is shaped like a spider and weighs less than 1.5 kg. It looks like it is
only a speck when flying at a height, but it can give real time inputs to the
team controlling it on the ground.

Redwing Aerospace
Redwing Aerospace, a Bengaluru-based drone deliverystartup
beyond the idea of using drones for food-delivery or ecommerce. Targeting a
deeper use-case, the team decided to use drones to deliver medicines, vaccines,
and blood to the most remote parts of the world.?In regions where getting a
truck, van, or even a bike to deliver medical essentials is next to impossible,
Redwing?s drones come to the rescue.

The delivery works on a hub-and-spoke model. The team gets a message on the
inventory needed. This is loaded at the central hub , and the drones take off,
after the regular pre-flight tests and checks of wind conditions, audio pilot
systems, and GPS tracker. The coordinates are fed into the systems and the
health examiner picks up the vials at the drop-off point.

The startup may not have the permission to operate in India yet, but it is now
focusing on delivering medicine and healthcare supplies to remote regions in
other countries, like Papua New Guinea.

Saif Automation
Vizag-based Saif Automation, a lifeguardstartup
[], has built an
unmanned remote-controlled water drone in 2017, that has uses in both defence
and civilian sectors.

The idea of the startup was to produce a ?Sea Water Drone?, that can be deployed
in an emergency situation arising at sea or in water bodies. It aims to help
reduce incidents of drowning in places where the drone is deployed.

Co-founder, Saif Automation, Aliasgar Calcuttawala (Right).The drone has a
dedicated radio communication from its remote to the craft, which is independent
on internet or any tower signal. Aliasgar Calcuttawala, founder of Saif
Automation said,

> This is particularly helpful because, in the event of a cyclone or earthquake.
There will be network issues, and so we worked on free radio frequency. The
drone once thrown on a water surface can go at a speed of 7 knots.

If a crew member sees a person drowning,?they can immediately throw the drone
out into the sea. With?the handheld remote,?they can control and manoeuvre the
drone until it reaches and picks the drowning person and comes back to the ship
or boat. The startup has designed more than 12 models of the drone for different
purposes ? tourism and entertainment, saving lives, surveillance, delivering
medicines in flood-affected areas.

Aarav Unmanned Systems
Founded in 2013, the use-cases for thestartup?s
[]commercial-grade drones
include?mapping of mines, forest cover, search and rescue operations, damage
assessment after disaster relief, and property mapping for taxation.?Aarav
Unmanned Systems provides solutions across infrastructure design and
development, urban and rural planning and surface transport and agriculture and

It had recently worked with the?Kerala Government to ascertain damage caused by
the floods of 2018. The startup has already mapped out large parts of Punjab and
Maharashtra, working with their local governments, and it has also mapped mines
in Telangana.

Gurugram-basedR2Robotronics [] built its flagship product DROSNAS (Drone Swarm Navigation System) in 2017, for
the GIS (geographic information system). The product helps users fly their
drones using its interface and specify the points for data collection, after
which the?drones fly?autonomously. After collecting the data, the device relays
it back to R2?s cloud network, where it is crunched, analysed and then the
insights are shared with the user.

Since it is a centrally monitored system, all the information about the drone
fleet is available at one place. One can monitor the drones operating from
anywhere in the world. This technology enables even regulatory bodies to
maintain supervision over the flights that have been logged into the system.
Being hardware and software-independent, DROSNAS is compatible with most of
the?drones in the market.

Original Article: