Home Enterprise Solutions WA student claims cheaper drone than existing devices

A 19-year-old law student from The University of Western Australia claims to have invented a drone that can stay in the air five times as long as many drones on the market.

Tom Maclaurin, a student from City Beach, also claims that his invention can conduct aerial surveillance for a fraction of the cost of current manned aircraft.

The device is two metres long and weighs six kg.

In a statement from the university, Maclaurin said he had built the device initially as part of his hobby of building remote control planes at school.

“What I’ve built is a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle that can be operated remotely,” he said.

Tom Maclaurin

“The device, named ‘Swift’, is capable of flying for more than six hours before its battery runs out and it can be used to monitor anything on the ground by picking up data from sensors, taking images or recording video.”

Maclaurin said the drone could be used for beach and shark surveillance or monitoring crop levels, dam levels, and cattle locations.

It could also be used by councils and government authorities to monitor particular areas of land.

“What I have created is not only far cheaper, but it can be operated remotely and is easy to use. It is lightweight and can glide safely to a stop should it lose power, instead of current drones which drop out of the sky when their battery runs out," he said.

Maclaurin is looking for investors to help him further develop the drone. He was recently awarded Student Start-up of the Year at the university's Innovation Quarter Awards for his invention.

Photos: Courtesy The University of Western Australia.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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