NITK Surathkal designs USV and names it after late prof

MANGALURU: As a fitting tribute to its faculty member, who died due to Covid-19 a month ago, NITK Surathkal has dedicated an indigenously designed unmanned surface vehicle (USV) after Prof Paresh Chandra Deka.

Deka worked in the water resources and ocean engineering (WR and OE) department and was an eminent researcher in the field of bathymetry, which he enthusiastically carried out using conventional techniques over the years.


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USV- Paresh was designed by the WR and OE department, jointly with the Centre for System Design (CSD), NITK Surathkal, recently. A similar USV costs up to Rs 4 crore, but the institute using open source resources, has developed it for Rs 15 lakh. The team that worked on the project included Pruthviraj U, assistant professor, K V Gangadharan, coordinator, CSD, Rakshith Kotian, Steevan Loyd and Rajath C Kotekar, junior research fellow, CSD.

Pruthviraj U, assistant professor, WR and OE, said Deka was an eminent researcher in the field of bathymetry, and used conventional techniques. Prof Deka served worldwide with his longest tenure being at NITK, where until his untimely demise, he taught postgraduate students, guided many research scholars and has authored several textbooks, while working on cutting-edge research in his field of hydrology, GIS mapping, machine learning applications and others. “The research work foundation laid by Prof Deka will be continued by utilising USV Paresh. Therefore we have dedicated this USV after him,” said Pruthviraj.

Prof Deka also assisted the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in sand block allocation works.

How it works

The USV built on a kayak is monitored and controlled by an in-house developed ground station system, which processes data and generates results instantly at the site. USV Paresh’s goal is to reduce the need for a human operator. Pruthviraj said that it can be used to move around in waterbodies. The USV is equipped with a single-beam echo-sounder for measuring depth in shallow water. The current system measures distances up to 75m, and can be replaced with multi-beam sonar for greater depth. It is propelled by a powerful 400W electric motor with a battery backup of six hours. Outriggers are attached on both sides, which stabilises the vessel in rough seas. The USV has a range of 40km in full charge, and can be remotely controlled or driven autonomously.

Paresh is equipped with interchangeable payloads like state-of- the-art differential GPS for centimetre-level position accuracy, LiDAR units to integrate bathymetry with topography, water quality monitoring system,bathymetric soil auger and sample collection.

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