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Make in India: IIT-Kharagpur students developing fully indigenous drones

The drones are being developed under the institute's Aerial Robotics Kharagpur (ARK) initiative

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October 17, 2016: A group of students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur is developing drones using indigenous hardware and software, officials said on Monday.

The drones, being developed under the institute’s Aerial Robotics Kharagpur (ARK) initiative, are being given shape at the Centre for Excellence in Robotics, funded by the Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) facility of the Institute.

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The Centre has received funding from the Institute to the extent of Rs 5 crore for 12 projects.

“Under the ARK initiative, drones are being developed, which would be capable of autonomous flight, localisation in GPS-denied environments, and tracking and interacting with mobile ground robots as well as other drones, and much more,” said Somesh Kumar of the Department of Mathematics, who is heading the initiative.

The ARK initiative aims to develop a flexible aerial robotics framework, which can be easily used to control aerial vehicles and eventually move to multiple decentralised aerial robot swarms in an outdoor setting.

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“The ARK initiative intends to develop drones using indigenous hardware and software. These have various applications, including tracking during search and rescue operations,” Kumar said.

“There are several areas where aerial robots can be deployed, such as agriculture technology, mine surveying, surveillance, etc. Aerial robots can be deployed in all those areas where human interaction is impossible either because of life risks or because of inaccessibility,” said Gaurav Gardi, a Fourth-Year student of MSc Physics working in the project.

The group participated in the International Aerial Robotics Competition at Beijing, in China, in September.

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The ARK was the only team from India, which participated in the competition at the Asia-Pacific venue.

The team participated with a ‘hexacopter’ designed by the students and completely made of wood. The team was awarded ‘Best Team Cooperation Award’ for its performance.

The team members were Soumyadeep Mukherjee, Aditya Agarwal, Gaurav Gardi, Kumar Ankit, Kumar Krishna Agarwal, Manash Pratim Das, Sai Ram and Vishnu Sharma. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google asks employees to delete China search engine memo: Report. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?