12th Jan 2017 created a buzz at Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit when Harshwardhan Zala, aged 14, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) worth Rs 5 crore with the state government, for the production of a drone designed by him.
While all his classmates are preparing for their board exams, Zala, the class 10 student had been working on his business plan and made 3 prototypes of the drone. He now signed a deal with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat to facilitate production of the drones that help detect and defuse land mines on war fields.
Zala’s parents funded not less than Rs.2 lakhs for his first two prototypes of the drone, later Rs.3 lakhs was funded by state government. Zala said he started work on the prototype of the landmine-detecting drone in 2016 and created a business plan too.
“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,” said the 14-year-old rising star Zala.
During his interview with TOI, he told, “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”.
The drone is designed to send out waves that cover eight sq mt 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 ,” explained Zala, who was looking at manufacturing the drone and getting it tested by security agencies.
He has set up his own company called ‘Aerobotics 7’ and already registered for a patent. The teenager added, “I have several other plans that I want to execute once the patent for this drone is registered.”
Zala, the student of Sarvodaya Vidhyamandir in Bapunagar said he has been interested in science and innovation and has always been encouraged by his father Pradhyumansinh Zala who is an accountant in Naroda and his mother Nishaba Zala, a homemaker.
Zala’s desire to get his product patented and produced was fueled during a visit to the headquarters of Google, Inc. headquarters in the US. He also told, “After this MoU, I am sure they will be ready to invest in my company,” said Zala, who wants to make his company bigger.