The first of its kind Olympics held for the future, eyed unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, saw the remotely controlled devices display rescue skills, visual formations and much more giving a wonderful contest to the larger than life aircraft.
Among the several firsts that the 12th edition of Aero India witnessed, the Drone Olympics was a major highlight. Organised for the first time in India during the second day of the Aero India 2019, Drone Olympics saw enthusiastic participation from contestants and viewers alike. The international level competition of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) was organised by the Government of India as a nudge to UAV manufacturing enthusiasts and provide them a unique platform to not only display their technologies but also find a space to connect with buyers from around the world.
The competition was also held, keeping in mind the brisk evolution of drones in military as well as civil aviation spheres. From battlefield surveillance, to photography, mapping, remote delivery, and eyeing targets, drones are becoming the most sought after gadgets that hold immense scope in the future.
The evaluation by a 10-member jury was carried on the basis of their surveillance capability, flight time, live transmission resolution, detection of targets, weight drop challenge, and formation flying capability. Out of the 121 teams that registered for the Drone Olympics, 27 were short listed for the Preliminary rounds that were held before the beginning of the Aero India show. Further nine teams were selected for the final competitive rounds that were held on Thursday. The participant teams displayed some eye-catching aerobatics and formations that were a delight for the audience ranging from students of various schools and colleges to experts eagerly observing the flying drones. Taking high flights in the sky, these drones appeared as mini versions of fighter aircrafts showing their various air formations. While competing, the drones also showcased their skills in payload, lifting, dropping food packets as well as medical supply, hence enhancing the various possibilities the drones can be used in. Hence, this competition has also been quite in lines with India's Vision 2040 for the Civil Aviation Industry which also revealed a Drone Ecosystem Policy Roadmap at the Global Aviation Summit held last month in Mumbai, India. As a part of this optimistic Vision 2040, India expects a barrage in drones formulations and usage, especially in urban commuting and medical evacuation. India also hopes to become a global leader in research, design and manufacturing of drones and anti-drone systems, and the highly eager participation in Drone Olympics supports that belief. The UAV market is witnessing a highly accelerated growth rate with a constant increase in demand which is not only limited to defence and aviation sector, but also in the commercial market as toys. Not just that the unmanned vehicles are also a hope to reduce risks of life that comes in aviation if they can successfully substitute the manned vehicles in some of the highly risk encountered areas.
The drones in the competition participated under five categories and a total prize of 33.5 lakh was given to the winners.