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Buckle up: Cambodian students build manned drone to aid community

Buckle up: Cambodian students build manned drone to aid community
Buckle up: Cambodian students build manned drone to aid community   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Prak Chan Thul</p> <p><span class="caps">PHNOM</span> <span class="caps">PENH</span> – Inspired at first by a desire to beat their city’s notorious traffic, a group of Cambodian students have designed a prototype drone that they hope can eventually be used to ferry people around Phnom Penh and even help fight fires.</p> <p>With eight propellers and using a school chair for the pilot’s seat, the drone was developed by students at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia (<span class="caps">NPIC</span>) on the outskirts of the capital.</p> <p>“The drone, when we see it flying without a pilot, there is a lot of shaking but when I sit on it and fly… it becomes more stable and I feel so excited,” said Lonh Vannsith, 21, the pilot of the drone. </p> <p>“We wanted to solve some problems for our society by making a taxi drone and… inventing drones for firefighters,” he said, noting how, for example, they hoped it could reach the upper floors of a building to bring a hose where a fire truck could not reach.</p> <p>The prototype can carry a pilot weighing up to 60 kg (132 pounds) and fly for about 10 minutes for a distance of 1 km (0.6 miles). It took three years of research and development and cost around $20,000 to build. </p> <p>While the team hopes it will eventually fly far higher, when manned the drone currently only rises to as much as 4 metres (13.1 feet).</p> <p>The project faced delays because of lockdowns during the <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 pandemic and also as components like the propellers and the frame had to be ordered abroad, said Sarin Sereyvatha, who is <span class="caps">NPIC</span>’s head of research and development technology.</p> <p>The team plans to improve the design to allow it to take more weight, as well as fly further and more stably at a higher level.</p> <p>“In principle, if we make one drone, the cost is expensive but if we make them to sell on the market, the cost will go down,” said Sarin Sereyvatha.</p> <p/> </div>