The University of Agder competed successfully in The Research Council of Norway -INDNOR Progamme, with the project LUCAT (Low-altitude UAV communication and tracking).
This is the only project where the prestigious Indian University IISc collaborates with a Norwegian university in the areas of signal processing, communication technology and machine learning.
IISc stands for the Indian Institute of Science, and is a world-class institution in technology and engineering.
"This will contribute to putting Norway and especially UiA on the international map in technology and engineering", says Baltasar Beferull-Lozano, professor at the University of Agder, and head of the WISENET lab.
The aim of the project is to develop advanced and robust algorithms to detect and accurately trace rapidly moving UAVs, popularly called drones. Most of the research will take place at the University of Agder's WISENET Laboratory (Intelligent Signal Processing and Wireless Networks), which spans both the Department of ICT and the Department of Engineering at the Faculty of Technology and Science in Grimstad and the Robert Bosch Centre for cyber-physical systems, IISc Bangalore, India. WISENET is also the only Laboratory at UiA funded by the NFR Toppforsk programme, the most prestigious programme by The Research Council of Norway (NFR).
"The project will strengthen the research partnership between Norway and India in communication technology and tracking of UAVs, as well as novel on-board machine learning algorithms. It will also meet societal challenges by improving environmental monitoring, transportation, safety and robustness in energy infrastructure", says project manager, Professor Linga Reddy Cenkeramaddi at the University of Agder.
The project's total budget is NOK 11.3 million, with a net funding from the Research Council of Norway of approximately NOK 10 million. IISc Bangalore has received similar funding from DST, Department of Science and Technology. The duration of the project is three years and the start date is set to June 2018.
In this project, as with other projects from the Research Council of Norway, reports are submitted annually.
The scientific results of the project will be disseminated among a wide audience through publications, conferences, demonstrations and the project website. Technical advances will be disseminated within the corresponding scientific community.
There are three professors from the Department of ICT at UiA who are actively involved in this research project, Professor Baltasar Beferull-Lozano (member by courtesy also of the Department of Engineering), Professor Linga Reddy Cenkeramaddi and Professor Daniel Romero. Professor Linga Reddy Cenkeramaddi will lead and coordinate the research. He has experience from the Indian education system where his bachelor and master's degrees were completed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
For this project, two new PhD research fellows will be employed, financed by UiA.
From IISc's side, three new PhD positions will be financed by IISc. There will also be two professors (Professor Amrutur Bharadwaj and Professor Chandra R. Murthy), as well as a member of technical staff, Doctor Abhay Sharma from IISc.
The project will also involve external collaborators, such as the University of Texas - Austin, the Indian Institute of Technology - Hyderabad and the University of Oslo.
The project summary states that the goal of the project is to design, develop and implement integrated technology for communication and tracking systems. Future drones will be able to perform autonomous operations in densely populated areas.
The main objective of the project is to accurately track fast-moving unmanned drones using smart sensors and develop advanced machine learning methods, signal processing algorithms and communication technology.
"This will again provide solutions with significantly increased performance for tracking and classifying objects, compared to existing
solutions. The project will also strengthen research-based teaching at UiA and IISc at all levels including PhD, post-graduate, and graduate education in signal processing, machine learning, electronics, embedded systems and cyber-physical systems", say Professors Baltasar Beferull-Lozano, Daniel Romero and Linga Reddy Cenkeramaddi.