14-Yr-Old Teen Signs MOU worth $733,568 To Produce Drones
A 14-year-old teenager has signed a $733,568 (Rs. 5cr) worth Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat to facilitate production of the drones designed by him at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (VGGS) on Thursday. The drones would be able to detect and defuse land mines on war fields.
Notably, Harshwardhan Zala, a class 10 student, has been working on his business plan and had built 3 prototypes of the drone for which he has totally spent around $7,336 dollars (Rs. 5,00,000). While the teen’s parents shelled out approximately $2,934 for the first two prototypes, he was granted $4,400 from the state for the third prototype. Now, the government experts will explore the possibility of its commercial production.
“An MoU has been signed with him and in the coming days Gujarat government will work with him on this project,” said Dr Narottam Sahu, head of Gujarat Council on Science and Technology (GUJCOST).
Harshwardhan said he started work on the prototype of the landmine-detecting drone in 2016. “The inspiration struck when I was watching television and learned that a large number of soldiers succumb to injuries sustained due to landmine blasts while defusing them manually,” he said.
Explaining the concept, Harshwardhan said, “The drone has been equipped with infrared, RGB sensor and thermal meter along with a 21-megapixel camera with a mechanical shutter that can take high resolution pictures as well,” he described. “The drone is designed to send out waves that cover eight square meter area while flying two feet above the surface; the waves detect land mines and communicate their location with a base station. The drone also carries a bomb weighing 50 gram that can be used to destroy the landmine,” said Harshwardhan, who was looking at manufacturing the drone and getting it tested by security agencies.
Harshwardhan has registered for patenting his design after setting his company called ‘Aerobotics.’ He has a lot of ideas for future already. The teenager said, “I started making drones on my own and set up an interface with a base station but realised I need to do more. So I fixed payloads that detect landmines. I have several other plans that I want to execute once the patent for this drone is registered.”
The 14-year-old student of Sarvoday Vidhyamandir in Ahmedabad says he has always been interested in science and innovation and his parents have been very encouraging of his efforts. His father Pradhyumansinh Zala is an accountant with a plastic company in Naroda while his mother Nishaba Zala is a homemaker.
Harshwardhan was inspired to patent his product after his visit to the headquarters of Google, Inc. in the US where he shared a project idea with several investors after observing the way they work. With this MoU, the teenager has bright future to look forward.
“This was part of an all-expenses paid trip to the US that was part of a prize I won during an innovation event at L D College of Engineering. Now, I need to inform these investors about the MoU and I am sure they will be ready to invest in my company,” said Zala, who plans to make his company a bigger identity that Apple Inc. and Google Inc.