The world is rolling backward, and at a disturbingly faster pace, in the struggle to limit carnage from landmines and other booby-traps explosives. According to the international non-profit CARE, around 26,000 people, globally, fall prey to landmines every year.
While the casualties were nearly 8,605, including 2,089 deaths in 2016, according to a report by Landmine Monitor, a research arm of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The toll was nearly 25 percent higher than the 6,967 maimed and dead counted a year earlier, and more than double the 3,993 in 2014, as recently reported by the New York Times.
Much of the 2016 mayhem stemmed from conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen, but people in 56 countries and other areas were killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices and other ordnance placed by governments or, more commonly, by insurgent groups.
Image Source: Sumit Baruh (Forbes India)
CRPF and Indian army commend Harshwardhan for his drone
Harshwardhan Zala has been tinkering with robotics since the age 10
(Images source: Ketto)
As per reports, landmines are the cause of approximately 800 deaths per month and don’t include the thousands that are injured for life.
At an age when kids are busy at school preparing for examinations, 16-year-old Harshwardhan Zala, a young entrepreneur from Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India has built a drone that can detect and destroy landmines made of plastic as well as metal.
With this, soldiers don’t have to risk their lives with current means of disposing of these explosives. His innovation is a contribution for a safer tomorrow- for us and for those who keep us safe.
Inspiration came to develop this drone when he saw the traditional way in which buried landmines are detected and how many lives are being lost due to this method. In fact, it costs Rs. 200-700 to make a landmine, but Rs. 20,000-70,000 to detect it!
This situation was the reason to start an innovative project ‘EAGLE A7’ (Escort for Attacking on Ground & buried Landmines as Enemy by Aerobotics7) to save the life of people.
In 2015 when he saw a YouTube video of soldiers in Afghanistan impacted by landmines. The video left him disturbed and motivated him to do something to solve for it and inspired him to spend many hours at the local cyber cafe to understand enough to develop a drone that could save all these lives.
Shri Vijay Rupani, Hon’ CM of Gujarat at NSIT Event, 2016
He was the winner of the 2017 “Billion Acts Hero Awards” announced on May 23rd given to Harshwardhan Zala by Óscar Arias Sánchez the former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize laureate with Peace Jam Foundation, the only one to get this Award in Asia.
Hon’ble Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovindji (Images source: Ketto)
Aerobotics7, founded by Harshwardhan Zala in 2016, provides UAV Drones and Robotics solutions with applicability across sectors. He has developed his first robot, a ‘Multipurpose Home Robot’ when he was all of 10 years by designing & developing it on software and then programming it himself.
EAGLE A7 drone is pre-launched by Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi and Israeli PM Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu. It can detect and destroys landmines with an accuracy rate of over 90%!
Harshawardhan has signed a MoU with the state government at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017. His innovative drone has been recognized by the Korean government and Israeli Prime Minister with potential business opportunities.
“We’ve developed a technology called multi-spectral detection to identify metal and plastic landmines, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices. We can detect explosive devices, track their location and detonate them with our wireless detonator, averting any human risk,” said Harshawardhan.
The drone is equipped with a light-weight wireless detonator (developed in-house) to blast the landmine. Built using a 3D printer, is a battery-operated, 555-mm wide quadcopter drone.
Presently, the device is in the prototype testing stage for a new drone that detects landmines, analyzes the data captured and sends data real-time to the Base Station. He is confident that this new technology will be more accurate in detecting all kinds of landmines (even if it is buried deep under the ground).
Aerobotics7 has a staff of nearly 20-30 of his protégés as volunteers and three full-time employees. His father Pradhyumansinh, who served as an accountant in a plastics company, heads the company’s finance department.
He already has a handful of patents to his credit and has earned the title of being India’s Drone Wiz. Now he is working on filing five international patents for this technology. Recently he has been awarded a US $730,000 deal with the Indian Government for his breakthrough invention of an anti-landmine drone.
His invention has opened up new avenues for Zala. Visits to Silicon Valley (including one to Google), invitations to tech events such as the Maker Faire Bay Area and offers of admission from multiple foreign universities are frequent.
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