Indian 10th grader builds landmine-detecting drone, bags Rs. 50m in funding
At 14 years of age, most students don’t even think about national security. Harshwardhan Zala however is different. The 10th grader from Sarvoday Vidhyamandir in Bapunagar, Gujarat, India has developed prototype of a landmine-detecting drone for war areas. Even better, the young innovator has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Rs. 5 crore with the Gujarat state government. The deal, in order to facilitate development of drones for detecting landmines in war zones, has been signed with the Department of Science and Technology in Gujarat.
Zala began working on prototype of a landmine-detecting drone in 2016. The idea came to him after learning through Television that a large number of soldiers lose their lives due to injuries sustained from landmine blast while trying to defuse landmines manually.
14-year-old Zala has spent under a year and about Rs 5 lakh building the prototype drone which is equipped with infrared, RGB sensors, a thermal meter and a 21MP camera with mechanical shutter to capture high-resolution images.
The teenager has fixed payloads that help detect landmines and has a 50g bomb onboard that can be used to destroy a landmine when detected. To detect landmine, the drone sends out waves over eight sq. m, while flying just two feet above the ground. The drone can also identify landmine and relay the data with location to a base station.
Zala filed a patent for the drone technology and set up his own company called Aerobotics.