DeLuca is an undergraduate student in the College of Engineering.
Meet LT-2 trojan, one of two rovers being built by a team of students who call their group Raptor Robotics.
The LR-2 can defuse landmines, says Andrew DeLuca, an electrical engineering major who conceived of the project while interning with a robotics organization in the Netherlands before college. Since coming to Drexel, he has acquired an undisclosed amount of funding and organized a build team of 32 students from across disciplines, with involvement from some faculty members.
Existing sensors used to detect improvised explosive devices (IEDs) can be attached to the rover. Once the rover finds an IED, it can plant a deactivation device next to it, move away and trigger deactivation. The landmine will be cleared without a living being coming close to it.
“We’re saving lives and time and money, and you can send a fleet of these rovers to clear a field that would take a long time for people to clear,” DeLuca says.
DeLuca intends to bring the LR-2 Trojan to market before he graduates. The team plans to have a prototype ready by the end of the 2022–2023 academic year so they can spend the following year experimenting and improving upon it.
The team has also started a concept design for a second rover intended for agriculture — “a water, seed and feed rover,” says DeLuca. “We initially started to develop the LR-2 rover for multi-use, but we found the most efficient way was to just make two separate rovers.”
DeLuca has been building ever since he was a child, with blocks and Legos, and got into robotics later. He built his first robot at age 11 and in the 10th grade he built a hydroponic system for growing food after a stint teaching math and science in a Gambian village that suffered from poor soil.
“Robotics is a really great, hands-on way of learning about a lot of different subsystems of technology,” DeLuca says. “It incorporates not just the hardware, but software, and creative and logical thinking. It combines all of that into an interesting, hands-on project.”