Exchange Diaries  

By International Relations Cell

Outbound Diaries 2020

Manthan Patel | Mechanical Engineering

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany

Research Area: Mapping of archaeological sites using multiple UAVs

Question1: In which university did you do your FT and what was the topic you worked on?
Answer1: I did my remote training at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany and my research topic was mapping of archaeological sites using multiple UAVs.

Question2: How did you apply for an FT?
Answer2: I applied through the DAAD-WISE scholarship program and got accepted into it. This year due to the COVID-19, the program got cancelled, but since I was in contact with the professor, I continued to work under him remotely.

Question3: Why do you think FT is important?
Answer3: If you want to pursue Masters or PhD, FT would be a good option for you. You’ll get the experience of performing research as the environment would be quite similar. It will help you decide whether you want to pursue research or go for job placements.

Question4: Where did you get the motivation to go for an FT? How did you handle your preparations along with the academics?
Answer4: I got involved with Autonomous Ground Vehicle research group and Robotics since my first year, so I was pretty sure that I want to pursue Masters or PhD in Robotics, so FT was the perfect opportunity for me. Regarding the preparations, if you start working in the first or second year only, then you will have a good amount of projects or work to show. If you work continuously then there won't be any issue.

Question5: What do you think was the role of CGPA in the entire process?
Answer5: CV gets shortlisted mainly based upon your CGPA apart from your profile. Since I had a pretty high CGPA, I think it played an important role in getting the scholarship. But there were many other programs that did not concentrate much onto CGPA. According to me,CGPA above 9 would be quite helpful.

Question6: Can you please share the details of the project you worked on and the professor you worked under?
Answer6: I worked under professor Aamir Ahmad who leads the robot perception group at Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. The project on which I was working was based on mapping of archaeological sites using multiple UAVs. The entire work was done in a simulation environment.

Question7: Did you have any similar projects here at KGP?
Answer7: I had worked on simultaneous localisation and mapping before and I did some work on drones earlier too. Actually I proposed this project since it was related to my interests.

Question8: How did the university manage everything in this confusion of COVID-19?
Answer8: Since the scholarship officially got cancelled, there was not much interaction with the administration, but I was in contact with the professor. I would mail him regularly and we would have weekly meetings.

Question9: What were the difficulties that you faced during the entire process? What was the mode of communication between you and the professor?
Answer9: Application process was tiring, it required a lot of mailing and had a lot of uncertainty. Since I was working remotely, it was very difficult to perform certain experiments as I did not have required computational power. In the early phases of internship the mode of communication was through mails but in later phases we usually had weekly skype meetings.

Question10: How would you describe your overall experience?
Answer10: From the point of view of work, I was pretty satisfied but I was disappointed that I could not go to Germany and have firsthand hardware experience.

Question11: What advice would you like to give to your fellow juniors who aspire for foreign training?
Answer11: I would advise them to start as early as possible and not to rely solely on foreign training programs. Individual mailing to the professors would be helpful. Create a personalized email for the professor and never opt for mass mailing.