Team Drovengers
Team Drovengers from INDrone Aero Systems

A team of Cranfield graduates has won the inaugural Drone Olympics competition at Aero India, Asia's largest military aviation exhibition.

The team from INDrone Aero Systems – competing under the name of Drovengers – were returning to Aero India after meeting at a Cranfield alumni event during the show in 2017. They won first and second place in the Surveillance categories of the competition.

Anurag Joshi, Managing Partner and Co-founder of INDrone, said: “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) entrants for the surveillance challenge needed to be light, have maximum endurance and be able to detect human-sized objects. We were the only team to identify all targets and showcase high endurance as necessary.

“We were also elated to meet with Cranfield’s Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy British High Commissioner at the Aero India alumni meeting, and had the pleasure of them visiting our stand. Their kind words and appreciation have given us an immense amount of motivation to do our work better,” added Joshi.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said: “We were delighted to meet with so many Cranfield alumni at Aero India this year. INDrone is a fantastic example of Cranfield’s alumni network bringing people together with world-changing results. Congratulations to the team for their success in the Drone Olympics, and for being showcased as one of 15 start-ups at Aero India 2019.”

Sir Dominic Asquith, British High Commissioner to India, also referred to InDrone directly in his speech at Aero India this year: “Two years ago at Aero India, alumni from Cranfield met who had not made contact since they left the university and decided to set up a company … and that company is here in Aero India today. We feel quite attached to that whole process of building partnerships, developing those relationships, those skills, and opportunities.”

INDrone Aero Systems was founded by Anurag Joshi and Abhishek Somanagoudar (both Cranfield MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design 2015 graduates) in June 2017. The company uses drones to provide data in order to improve the planning, monitoring and execution of projects for businesses across a range of sectors including transport infrastructure, energy, agriculture and disaster management.

The Drone Olympics at Aero India were organised by the Indian Ministry of Defence and saw 57 teams from around the world competing in three categories, testing surveillance, payload and formation flying capabilities. The INDrone team won first and second place in the Surveillance: Fixed VTOL Multirotor (>4 kg and <4kg) categories of the competition and received medals and cash prizes, along with a Lockheed Martin AlphaPilot Drone Development kit and an opportunity to visit the company in the US.