Long ago, probably 7 years ago, the days when the use of Facebook was at its infancy and all the joy was in mig33, I was just getting started in higher secondary education choosing science as the subject. I chose science only because I thought commerce and humanities were boring. Although there was a mindset of becoming a doctor someday since I was little, I came to realize that making and breaking things are my forte. However, I was known mostly for breaking things. There was a common notion in my home, that once I disassemble things for repair, then that thing would be beyond repair. Picking up junk electronics and whatever small parts I could find while walking on the road was a common thing. During this time, I was also introduced to the series The Big Bang Theory by a friend, for which I thank him to this day. Suddenly, my interest in engineering grew, a big thanks to Howard Wolowitz. I was fascinated by the idea of building humanoids that could think for themselves but neither did I have the knowledge of the complexity nor the guts to do so. In all these chaos of making and breaking, fascination and complexities, there was a small place for UAVs in my heart.
To be honest, this thing was far from being a U in UAV, let alone UAV, merely a model of a plane that could just run forward with the backward thrust of the propellers. But breaking and making was of course still on.
With a deep fascination with robotics and my eyes set on becoming an engineer, I came to Kathmandu and got selected in Pulchowk Campus. But there was a dilemma, for which engineering would be the best for robotics. I was initially going with Mechanical Engineering, but there was pressure from home to do Computer Engineering. So I went for Electronics and Communications, a common ground for doing everything, I could imagine from mechanical to electronics to computer, and I was right.
I initially thought Pulchowk Campus was large, large enough to be the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The education was there, classes were there, labs were there but none came close enough to the esteemed Robotics Club of Pulchowk Campus. After all, that was the reason I joined an engineering college. Days passed by, making and breaking and gradually making overcame breaking. This was in large part thanks to my seniors and peers working in the club. In all these hassles and tussles around robotics, UAVs were still a thing for me.
My incapability of making a UAV by myself led me to buy a one, a small toy helicopter. However, this was still a UA in a UAV.
I was in 3rd year and now I had friends, a close knit circle of like-minded people with Sajan, Shovan and Sushil with whom I spent most of my time. Now, it was time for a minor project, and Shovan pushed for an idea of making a quadcopter, with which we all agreed to. Ram dae, especially provided a great helping hand and continued to do so.
This was the first quadcopter we had made and there was all joy when it flew for the first time.But still it couldn’t fly autonomously, This was finally a UAV, but far from being an autonomous UAV. The 3rd year passed, then came the 4th year with its Major Project. WIth still something to prove with UAVs, we chose Autonomous quadcopters with payload delivery as our project. There were changes in the designs, electronics and controllers and after all the hard work, we made a UAV, one which was capable of flying autonomously.
However, this autonomous drone lacked one thing, it was unable to carry payload. In the meantime, FuseMachines Nepal was the main sponsor of the first ever drone racing competition in LOCUS, a technological exhibition organized annually in Pulchowk Campus. Impressed by the competition and courtesy of our supervisor, Mr Nanda Bikram Adhikari, they agreed to sponsor our autonomous drone project. With their help, we were able to make a drone capable for payload delivery all autonomously.
After graduation, the robotics and drones were over. They were meant to be over. We had now more lofty ambitions of becoming entrepreneurs, all four of us, but couldn’t figure out how. So for now we opted for experience and were selected to work in FuseMachines Nepal, all four of us. After 3 months of experience, we were invited to join the National Innovation Center, led by Mahabir Pun, for making autonomous drones for medical delivery. The project in the National Innovation Center was huge and the prospect of owning our product was a huge factor that would eventually lure us to NIC. Our long held ambition of becoming entrepreneurs was finally going to start with a clear idea in mind.
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