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UNIST Startup Wins Grand Prize in Defense Competition

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LOAD, a student-led startup affiliated with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), has received the $13,000 grand prize at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration’s (DAPA’s) 2018 Startup Competition.

Through the analysis device installed on the lower part of the drone, one can easily monitor water pollutants. Courtesy of UNIST.
Through the analysis device installed on the lower part of the drone, one can easily monitor water pollutants. Courtesy of UNIST.


LOAD, or “Lab on a Drone,” focuses on environmental sampling and analysis. The team is currently working on the development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems for environmental research. At the competition, the team showcased its prototype UAV system, combined with UNIST’s low-cost compositional analysis platform “lab-on-a-disk” and its national defense drone cluster technology.

Current analytical methods for water-quality studies require samples to be collected on site and then delivered to the lab for further processing. However, besides being time-consuming, such methods can lead to numerous problems, including high costs and difficulty in transporting samples.

LOAD proposed a solution by deploying an analysis device on the lower part of their prototype drone to efficiently monitor water pollutants in bodies of water. The new device can maximize the accuracy and speed of data collection in a cost-effective way.

The 2018 Startup Competition was hosted by DAPA and organized by the Agency for Defense Development (ADD).

Photonics Spectra
Feb 2019
LOADLab On a DroneUlsan National Institute of Science and TechnologyUNISTDefense Acquisition Program AdministrationDAPAdefenseawardsfundingstartup competitionAsia-PacificBusinesslight speed

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