'Drone Boy' Prathap has been making headlines since 2018, for apparently building 600 drones from e-waste at the age of 22. Several reports on his extraordinary achievements have been published since then. He claimed that he had been invited to 87 countries and has participated in numerous number of science exhibition to showcase his drones. He claimed that he won 1st prize at a Drone competition in Japan.
Following an interview with BTVNews on July 16, social media was abuzz with doubts over his "incredible" accomplishments as several discrepancies and inconsistencies cropped up.
Below are the news reports on Prathap celebrating his achievements:
The Logical Indian got multiple requests to verify the claims:
Prathap NM built his own drones and won awards for it.
The claim is false.
In the recent interview with Kannada channel Btv News Kannada, on being asked by the anchor regarding photographs showing his self-made drones, Prathap took out his phone and showed a photograph where he is seen posing with a drone.
BillzEye, Germany-based company owned by Bill Gutbier, issued a statement on his company's website where he stated that the drone seen in the photo showed by Prathap was actually built by BillzEye and exhibited at CEBIT 2018, Hanover Exhibition Center.
According to the statement, during the exhibition Prathap had asked questions about the drone which Gutbier answered. Prathap had then requested if he could click a photograph of the drone 'BETH-01'.
"All drones that were exhibited on the pedestals of my booth, especially the "BETH-01" with Mr Prathap shown in the picture, are the property of BillzEye – Multicoptersysteme. Mr Prathap has nothing to do with the design, development, manufacture or distribution of this drone. He is not an employee, cooperation partner or shareholder of BillzEye – Multicoptersysteme. This drone, which is the focus of his photo, was specially designed, constructed and manufactured by Bill Gutbier. All of this can be demonstrated using many documents, CAD files and photos," reads the statement.
Below is a comparison between the picture shown by Prathap in the interview (left) the same picture featured on BillzEye's website (right) and the drone at the exhibition (bottom):
Earlier, Prathap had claimed that it was at the CEBIT 2018 held in Germany where he was awarded the "Albert Einstein Innovation Gold Medal".
No such mention of "Albert Einstein" award or "gold medal" could be found on the internet. The reports only mention that Prathap had won them. Further, the CeBIT Innovation Award is given to companies and research groups and not individuals.
The Better India had earlier also done a story on Prathap, which they have now updated. "After the publication of the article, the organisers of the events in Germany responded to our second round of queries stating they did not host any such awards," reads the update.
Another photo shared by Prathap on his Instagram account shows him posing beside a drone he claims to be his own creation. This photograph was also a part of a report by The New Indian Express's Edexlive.
Below is a screenshot of the report:
The picture of the drone clearly shows the logo of the Japan-based ACSL.
Below is the photo shared by Prathap (left) and a closeup, which clearly shows the branding of ACSL (right):
Further, in a Reddit thread surrounding Prathap and his drone controversy, a Redditors referred to the image shared by Prathap on Instagram and said that they had written to the COO of ACSL, Satoshi Washiya.
Washiya has replied saying, "We regret to inform you that Mr. Prathap N M has never been involved in any of our product development. In fact, we were not aware of him until you have emailed us."
Below is a screenshot of the email attached by the Redditor:
The Logical Indian had reached out to Prathap multiple times on this. No response has been received yet.
Aditi, part of the fact checking team of The Logical Indian likes to read, write, cook and laugh, in short live life as it is supposed to be. What makes her fascinated is to discover the truth behind a story and more often than not, it is either fact or myth at the end.
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