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Young DRDO scientists to make new cargo drones for Himalayan frontier

In the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), young scientists have been tasked with developing a new class of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of transporting loads from high-altitude bases so that logistic operations can be undertaken along the Himalayan border. 

High-altitude, vertical take-off and landing drones will be driven by eight propellers and capable of taking off from altitudes up to 15,000 feet and airlifting up to 50 kilograms of cargo over distances of up to 10 kilometers. 

The project is being managed by the DRDO Young Scientist Laboratories (DYSL), a group of 5 specialized research institutes where all scientists, including the directors, must be younger than 35 years of age. Located at Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, their core focus areas are artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, smart materials, asymmetric technologies, and quantum technologies, respectively. 

The octocopter is required to have payload capability of 50 Kg at mean sea level and above 20 Kg at extreme altitude, and be able to operate at temperatures up to –20 degrees Celsius. 

Urgent supplies of essential items like rations, water, fuel, and medicines to forward posts in remote areas currently depends upon choppers, which is very expensive. Hence, cargo drones are being looked at as being a force-multipliers, as per DRDO scientists. 

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