Students from Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) have designed and built a firefighting drone for Ajman Civil Defence that can provide support in rescue missions.
Called a Civil Defence Support Drone, the device has complete autopilot capability and can be dispatched to specific locations. It uses an on-board GPS to stream live video and audio from the scene of an incident to the base station. The drone is especially useful in relaying information during high-rise building fires.
Rescue teams can use the drones to track drowning victims or those lost in the desert. The device can fly for 30 minutes, is equipped with a high-end GPS, night-vision sensor and has an autonomous flight-path monitor. A Windows Phone app has been developed to receive information from the drone. Tests were carried out at Ajman Civil Defence headquarters, and authorities, professors and students participated.
“To help firefighters while they are doing their missions, we designed this hexacopter to be fully autonomous and we installed different sensors to provide additional support to firefighters on these missions,” said Mateen Tahseen, 23, a recent graduate of AUST.
The students installed gas and smoke sensors on the drone to help firefighters assess the severity of incidents in situations with low visibility.
Additionally, they developed a sensor that is attached to the firefighters themselves and can relay information such as their location during a mission and the conditions they face.
“In any case of emergency they will know the exact same location of the person in the building. All the while the drone flying outside is giving a live video feed to the station,” Mr Tahseen said.
The university gathered five students from several engineering disciplines for the project.
“It was great, we worked with three professors to create and put all the things together, and it was very informative to work with several people and overcome challenges this way,” said Abdullah Shapsough, 26, who studied electrical communication. He works as an intern with Secutronic, a Saudi-based company in Dubai that specialises in unmanned aerial vehicle and security surveillance.
“Helicopter drones are a new technology,” he said. “It’s a whole new world that we are working on, and I learnt a lot about implementing what I learnt in university in real-life projects.”
He said the university project was key to his advancement.
“It was good to take equations and see how to apply them. It benefited me because I got an internship as a result of it.”
Prof Mustahsan Mir, head of the electrical engineering department, was one of the professors involved in the project. He said “drones are the future” and that working on projects such as this is the way to educate a new generation of students.
“This is important for the future generation because it involves developing technical skills, soft skills, communication and teamwork,” said Prof Mir. “When students work on these projects they develop lots of skills that are important in real life.
“Most importantly, it gives them a lot of confidence and belief in the future.”
Prof Mir said projects that encouraged students to use their studies in real world application were the way to a more knowledge-based society.
Other AUST students involved in the project included Shahin Basiratzadeh, Masoud Dorrikhteh and Ali Hamid.
“It gives us immense joy to see our students achieve something on a national level,” said Prof Fahar Hayati, dean of the College of Engineering.