Techie from UPES lends his expertise in biodiversity research and conservation
Sajal Sharma, an alumnus of UPES, class of 2015-2017, M.Tech Robotics, has been a part of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) as an individual contributor for the technical aspects of the surveys on Gangetic River Dolphins, Dugongs, Great Indian Bustards, Swamp Deer, Wild Elephants, and for 3D and 2D mapping of wetlands and rivers
Sajal Sharma is an alumnus of UPES, class of 2015-2017, M.Tech Robotics, School of Engineering. His academic session started a month later than everyone else in his batch. Though Sajal wanted to pursue Aerospace with a specialisation in UAV due to the limited seats, he had to opt for Robotics. Pursuing robotics was never in the plan, but gradually Sajal developed an interest in the program. His passion for robotics, electronics and DIY project started in the first semester.
When the Research Initiative for Students of Engineering (RISE) was launched in the year 2015, it was a golden opportunity for Sajal, and he grabbed it with both hands. Winning this competition gave him exposure and made him confident. He realised that there is much more to learn, and he could do wonders in the field he had chosen.
When asked about his journey, Sajal says, “There are real-world applications of the devices I make and the projects I undertake. I was introduced to Professor Qamar Qureshi, who is the Principal Investigator for the Development of Conservation Action Plan for Gangetic River Dolphin, by Professor Saurabh Shanu who was my senior at that time. I presented the RISE project to him, which was Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for Environmental Health Monitoring. I got the opportunity to be a part of IIT Bombay’s project ‘Design and Development of Solar Powered Autonomous Vehicle’. Later, I presented the project as my Master’s thesis.”
Eager to grow as a professional, Sajal reached out to Professor Qamar Qureshi after completing M.Tech. Sajal wanted to be a part of his team working on Gangetic River Dolphins. Professor Qureshi’s response was positive, and he was all set to grow and learn.
“Working on this project was completely a new and different world for an engineer like me. It was an extremely exhilarating and life-changing experience for me. The problems were new and finding solutions to them was challenging,” says Sajal.
Sajal has been a part of the Wildlife Institute of India (WWI) as an individual contributor for the technical aspects of the projects which include developing new data recording devices, piloting unmanned aerial vehicles and underwater vehicles for surveys on Gangetic River Dolphins, Dugongs, Great Indian Bustards, Swamp Deer, Wild Elephants, and for 3D and 2D mapping of wetlands and rivers.
Not only this, but Sajal has also designed prototypes such as water testing kits, flow meters, VHF trackers, portable power supply units, unmanned aerial vehicles, solar–powered buoy indicators and trackers, to name a few. This job has allowed him to work closely with various forest officials and Forest Department staff members of Madhya Pradesh, Andaman, Tamil Nadu and Himachal. He has had the opportunity to train and update them with the latest tools of technologies that are being used for more effective ways of data collection.
Says Sajal, “Finding an easy solution to the problem and overcoming every challenge that comes my way, fascinates and drives me to work harder. UPES played an important role in achieving my goals and fulfiling my dreams. UPES faculty supported, encouraged and guided me at every step and in every project I worked on.”