Thala Ajith on board Chennai MIT’s drone mission


Star joins team to develop UAV that will be flown at a competition in Australia in September

At a time when other Tamil superstars like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan are busy launching their political careers, Ajith will devote himself to launching Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) has appointed him as its ‘Helicopter Test Pilot and UAV System Adviser’.

The actor, popularly known as ‘Thala’, will begin his new assignment by helping MIT build an advanced UAV for Medical Express-2018 UAV Challenge, a prestigious competition whose final round is scheduled to be held in Queensland, Australia, in September.

The actor, who first developed an interest in aero-modelling as a school student, has over the years nurtured his passion for designing and operating remote-controlled vehicles. He volunteered to be a part of MIT’s Team Dhaksha, which is participating in the UAV Challenge.

Anna University cleared his appointment on Thursday. The actor, who is paid several crores of rupees for his film projects, will receive a salary of ₹1,000 per visit. He has offered to donate it for the education of MIT’s poorer students.

Dr. K. Senthilkumar, associate professor & director in-charge, Centre for Aerospace Research (CASR), said the UAV challenge in Australia is sponsored each year by a collection of industry, government and research agencies. Of the more than hundred countries that entered the fray, only 55 qualified for the second round. “We have developed an innovative technology and are confident Mr. Ajith’s expertise in the design of aerial vehicles will strengthen our mission.”

The task for the UAV challenge is to fly a drone from a lab to a patient 30 km away, pick up his blood samples, and return to base. “The challenge is to get the samples to the lab. The patient is stranded in a remote location, and he is cut off by floodwaters,” Dr. Senthilkumar said.

Published on The Hindu News Website dated May 4 , 2018


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