Aerotronic Partners with Purdue Students to Build Autonomous Drones

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A partnership between a robotics firm and a major engineering research team may advance single-rotor drone technology.

Indianapolis-based drone manufacturer Aerotronic is joining forces with the Purdue College of Engineering School of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Using Aerotronic’s technology — remote-sensing, single-rotor helicopter called “Dauntless” — engineering students are participating in a robotics internship in which they perform projects with the company’s drone utilizing more than 30 sensors monitors to collect in flight. The Dundee can carry multiple sensors to detect pipeline leaks and provide first responders with aerial views of disaster sites.

“With the help of Purdue Research Foundation, I was able to gain experience running a robotics team at the Anvil, a co-working space located near the Purdue campus where students and community members can bring their innovation ideas to life,” Purdue student Kevin Sheridan said.

Aerotronic CEO Neerav Shah agrees. “Drones are beneficial in many fields because of their ability to gather information from the air,” Shah said.

“With drone technology, first responders can gain situational awareness about the site of an emergency before arriving so that they can be better prepared. Emergency personnel can obtain information in advance about the precise location and size of a fire or the whereabouts of a perpetrator.  “Our drone technology can help to maintain power line integrity by replacing manned helicopters for transmission line inspections that ensure reliability of the electric grid.”

Emerging Aerotronic technology will soon include onboard computing capabilities allowing its drones to fly autonomously and make decisions using artificial intelligence.

“As an alumnus of Purdue University, I chose Purdue students because of their talent.  Purdue is a world-class university that draws students from all over the world to come here to get a high-quality education,” Shah said. “The state of Indiana has been instrumental in providing mentorship, marketing, coaches, and network connections and in helping Aerotronic become competitive on the national level.”


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