AmritaWNA Secures Multi-Crore Funding from Ministry to Deploy WSNs for Landslide Detection

The Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, Amrita University, is internationally recognized today for its successful development and deployment of the world's first Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) System for the Detection and Early Warning of Landslides in the Munnar region of Kerala. In 2009, the system successfully delivered real-time warnings during the monsoon season and the Government of Kerala subsequently issued evacuation alerts to local communities. As a result, AmritaWNA was awarded the 2012 NABARD Innovation prize for contributions towards rural development. Later that year, AmritaWNA was praised in the Raja Sabha by the Minister of State for Planning, Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr Ashwani Kumar, acknowledging the Center's successful pilot deployment of the WSN system in Munnar. The Minister encouraged the Center to continue its research in order to fine-tune the existing system so that similar systems could be deployed in landslide prone areas in the country.

Now, after an extensive and rigorous assessment of Amrita's WSN system, the Center has been officially invited by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to replicate the innovation via a three-year, multi-crore funding deal. The MoES funded project will focus on designing, developing, and deploying an advanced integrated early warning system in order to save lives from the imminent danger of landslides. The project will be implemented in Northeast India, one of the most landslide prone areas in the country.

The existing AmritaWNA landslide monitoring and detection system comprises of embedded earth probes, pore pressure sensors, moisture sensors, strain gauges, geophones, tilt meters, inclinometers, rain gauges and a large, and dense wireless sensor network that provides a comprehensive matrix of geotechnical data from the deployment site. In the MoES funded project, AmritaWNA will design an enhanced system that can assimilate to specific environmental conditions, terrain conditions, and soil properties. The Center will also architect a low-cost Intelligent Wireless Probe (IWP) with multiple kinds of sensors and engender a wireless sensor node that is capable of dynamically making intelligent decisions on processes and schedules. The data from the spatially distributed multiple IWPs will then be transmitted using heterogeneous wireless networks to the Data Analysis Center at Amrita University. Next, complex data analysis will be performed to provide the probability of the occurrence of a landslide and to subsequently issue automatic warnings to the population residing in the landslide prone area. The predictability of the whole system will be enhanced by integrating it with the modified and improved landslide laboratory set-up.

AmritaWNA will also investigate and conduct research on topics such as increasing cost-effectiveness and reliability, reducing maintenance needs, increasing power efficiency, finding alternative sensors, and improving/exploring the potential impact of each sensor. The Center aims to develop a sustainable system that can be utilized to monitor rain-fall induced landslides over a long period of time.

Lastly, AmritaWNA will focus on creating a more reliable and precise public warning system as well as creating innovative, India-based, technological solutions such as custom designed sensors and unique software and backend network solutions. Furthermore, the Center will focus on scientific advancements in the area of energy optimized sensor networks and optimal schemes for minimizing conservation by utilizing multi-sensors to maximize the effectiveness of predicting landslides. AmritaWNA has previously received funding from government agencies such as the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The Center is committed to conducting meaningful research in WSNs for the benefit of humanity and aims to become a leading force in the development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of Disaster Management. 

October 17, 2013

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