During its 8th edition of research day activities, Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Ilorin, recently featured some of its undergraduates working on research around Unmanned Military Aerial Vehicles to support the federal government’s war against insurgency. BINTA SHAMA captures the exciting moments.
The duo, Onafowope Olaoluwa and Abdul-Majeed Adnan Sambo, who are students of Aeronautical and Astronautically Engineering, presented a UMAV model. These duos were among other undergraduate researchers who participated in the programme.
The research project is to aid the fight against the menace of insurgency in Nigeria and the rest of West African sub-region. They are on the path to develop an Unmanned Military Aerial Vehicle (UMAV) that can execute surveillance and ground surface attacks without risk of losing military personnel.
The programme featured presentation of research findings and proposals by shortlisted students from different colleges of the Institution among others.
This Undergraduate Research Day which comes up every semester at KWASU started in 2013, aimed at helping the students to develop life-long knowledge and skills in problem solving to become engaged, innovative, and impactful citizens of the world.
Target for research
The two researchers explained that the proposed project, when actualized, will increase Nigeria’s knowledge and defense capabilities as a nation.
According to them, “This is a research into the application of Unmanned Military Aerial Vehicles (UMAV) in national defense.
Identifying the project
They revealed that UMAV will be of immense contribution to forces in combating high security threats within the national borders. The UMAV will be an aircraft with some payload as firearm and surveillance equipment.
“It will house a microcontroller that will control its essential parts. This research will delve into the intersection of aeronautical engineering, computer science, electronics and geographical information systems.”
The Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the Occasion, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, noted that from its inception, KWASU had chosen to be a research-intensive University.
Na’Allah stated that research at advanced level is not the only way to go, stressing that undergraduate research is as important as other research endeavors at the Institution.
He observed that without the support of undergraduate researchers, most of the prestigious awards, especially the Nobel Prizes, would not have been won by their recipients globally. “This in return will help breed students that will end up becoming pacesetters not only for this country nor the continent but the world at large.
Grants supporting worthy researchers
The Deputy Director, Centre for Undergraduate Research (CUR), Dr. Olubukola Dada, had declared that grants worth over three million naira would be awarded to the selected undergraduate researchers whose proposals were found worthy of funding by the CUR.
Achievements of research institutes
Dada also highlighted some of the achievements of the Institution’s undergraduate researchers to include a Surveillance Drone, an ongoing project by Habeebullah AbdulKadir of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
She noted that the drone, among other inventions, won accolades during this year’s exhibition organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja.
Undergraduate researchers awaiting Partnership
The Deputy Director explained that most of the undergraduate research innovations are awaiting stakeholders’ partnership, with a view to empowering the youth and helping to solve some of the developmental challenges in Nigeria.
The Vice Chancellor assuring that a lot of products will be coming out of the Institution’s undergraduate research programme, he urged the CUR to reach out to potential sponsors and industries for partnership.
Keeping alive research work
The Guest Speaker, Dean, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, Professor Olatunde Oni, advised the young researchers to change the narrative of having most research works in the nation’s tertiary institutions ended up in shelves, by making their findings impactful on the community.
Proposing research work in other institutions
“I am motivated by the KWASU undergraduate research initiative and would propose its adoption at LAUTECH.
Use of UAV in the world
In the 20th Century, military research precipitated many widely used technological innovations. Surveillance satellites enabled the GPS-system, and defense researchers developed the information swapping protocols that are fundamental to the Internet. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) fall into a similar category. Designed initially for reconnaissance purposes, their Para-military and commercial development was often out of sight of the public.
As the technology becomes more advanced and costs fall, civilian day-today uses of UAVs are developing rapidly. At the same time, military drone activity has caused public outcry; Obama has approved more drone attacks than any other US President. The potential for photo journalism from the air rather than a long lens also raises concerns about privacy.
Advantages of UAV
Owing to the small size of the drones, they can usually penetrate into constricted spaces. Add to that, effective cameras and this makes the drones suitable for purposes of bomb detection. Thus, these aerial vehicles are apt for making us aware of unexploded bombs and save lives.
The defense of any country usually tends to conduct regular surveys in order to ensure protection of the people and the place. Using drones, in this case, could be an interesting idea. This reduces manual labor and you get a wider field of view. This also does not hamper the normal lives of the people making it easier for them.
These unmanned aerial vehicles are also used for the purpose of air strikes. It had once been confirmed by President Obama that they used drones regularly to attack militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. They hover around suspected areas, as controlled by the defense personnel and they can be operated in particular areas in order to fulfill military operations.