A young scientist currently studying at Christ University, Bengaluru, is living out his dreams as the unofficial drone test pilot of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and has his sights set on one day serving his country with his expertise in aerodynamics.
An aero enthusiast from a young age and India’s Young Scientist 2015, Rohit Dey has been studying and building drones from scrap materials for close to a decade, and has already captured the interest of some high-profile companies including NASA.
Despite this, the highly-skilled teen is showing commitment to his studies, even turning down a full-time position at a Bengaluru city-based drone solutions company, to focus on the completion of his BSc.
At least for now, the teen is content with piloting some of NAL’s UAV prototypes, including the SkySurfer, a fixed-wing airplane, and two Quadrotors with auto pilot. “Being associated with NAL gives me a high. I not only get to test the drones but also troubleshoot and understand the technology,” Rohit told Bangalore Mirror.
Rohit built his first quadcopter, an unmanned helicopter with four rotors, when he was just 5 years old. By the age of 15, he had designed and manufactured 10 such vehicles, all voice controllable with GPS receptivity. At this age, he attracted much attention at the Children’s Science Congress and began making a name for himself in the science tech world. His design won him the prestigious title, ‘“The Young Scientist India – 2015,” and a trip to the US to visit the NASA centre, where he got to be a co-pilot for the day. “I needed ₹50,000 to buy the microprocessor from the market, which is a huge sum of money. So, I decided to make it at home, consulting a few books,” Rohit said, of making the winning UAV, to Times of India.
As a 16-year-old, Rohit made national news when he built his own Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which he hoped would one day be used to assist in disaster response. The remote controlled drone was built with the ability to hover up to a height of 150m and be on air for up to a duration of 20 minutes. It used a rechargeable lithium battery, weighed about 650gm and cost ₹8,000 to build.
“I want to be a scientist and work as a researcher in the area of aerodynamics and serve my country one day,” Rohit told Times of India.