Hyderabad-based drone technology company Thanos has won the Supply Drop Challenge at the Drone Olympics. This was conducted by the Ministry of Defence in association with the Drone Federation of India at this year’s edition of the aero show. After winning the Drone Olympics, the company has begun getting enquiries from the Indian Army and other entities for Payload Delivery drones. According to Pradeep Palleli, founder of Thanos, they are already working on improving their prototype to make it a commercial version.
Apart from this, the company is betting big on the drone repairs and servicing space and plans on carving a niche for themselves.
The Drone Olympics conducted between 18 – 21 February 2019 presented three different challenges: The Surveillance Challenge, Supply Drop/Delivery Challenge and Drone Swarm/Formation challenge. Thanos won the Supply Drop/Delivery Challenge wherein a weight of 2 Kg payload was required to be delivered autonomously (without any operator inputs) over a travel distance of 2 Kms.
The aim of the challenge was to identify startups/innovators in India with capabilities that can potentially be leveraged for several critical applications such as Medicine and Organ Delivery, Last Mile Connectivity, Disaster Relief Management among others.
The team comprising co-founder and CTO Prathyush Akepati and Technical Engineer Suman Sekhar put together the prototype reusing components from other drones they had and built the prototype in a span of just 2 days.
Thanos is a Hyderabad-based startup incubated in CIE IIIT-Hyderabad. It made its debut in the agricultural space for spraying, aerial surveillance as well as mapping. Since then, the team has added drone repairs and designing of battery packs to their repertoire. The company also recently won a grant to develop a High Endurance Multicopter that has immense potential for certain Govt. as well as consumer applications.
“As a bootstrapped hardware startup, our financial resources are extremely constrained. We wanted to participate in a challenge that costs us the least and takes the least amount of time to build and test. Having expertise in Heavy Payloads and High Endurance, Supply Drop Challenge was the obvious choice for us. We also wanted to build something that might take us a little closer towards having a market ready product for the future,” Pradeep says.
Participants at the challenge included some of the best drone companies and drone/robotics research labs in the country. The competition had a comprehensive method of evaluating participants. “We were evaluated on a number of parameters that included weight of the drone, availability of necessary safety features on the drone, frequency of operation, accuracy of drone landing/payload delivery location and so on. There were also multiple rounds of testing/challenges which tested the reliability/strength of certain mechanical fixtures of our drone.” remarks Pradeep. The Thanos team got the highest score of 49/50 securing the first place.