Interview by Megi Hajderlli
An interview with mechanical engineer/creative Thomas Lloyd, who shares with us how his passion for drones, mountain biking, skiing and photography inspired him to pursue mechanical engineering and the benefits of learning the link between engineering and the natural world.
(Picture: Thomas Lloyd, left, fiberglassing with fellow mechanical engineer Bradley Kaufman)
Megi Hajderlli: Why don’t you start off by telling me a little about yourself?
Thomas Lloyd: My name is Thomas Lloyd, I’m a mechanical engineer student at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. I’m in my fourth year finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with honors and I grew up on the west coast of Auckland. I have been interested in engineering my whole life as I love the practicality and understanding how things work.
MH: What originally inspired you to become an engineer?
TL: When I was young I started off mountain biking and skiing and hence became inspired by the engineering of the technologies involved. I also have been working as a photographer for the past six years, so I’ve had the chance to use a lot of high-end equipment like drones and stabilizing equipment, which fueled my energy towards understanding and creating better solutions.
I’ve also always had a lot of empathy towards our environment. A majority of the time I spend on my work and hobbies is in the outdoors and I feel that we are treating them in an unsustainable way. I want to use engineering as a tool to help change this globally.
MH: How did you hear about Duro UAS and what projects are you involved with in the company?
TL: I heard about Duro UAS through LinkedIn and I wanted to branch out of Auckland to get involved with more advanced technology, that which is most often developed in startups like Duro that you don’t see in New Zealand. I wanted to work with technology that didn’t just offer a solution, but also helped the environment with ongoing other benefits.
At the moment I’m working on three projects: a sonar gimbal design, which is basically a stabilizing mount for the drone’s sonar; a thruster mount, which holds the propulsion unit as the drone navigates through the water, and looking at how much power the drone needs to move against all of the opposing forces, running float simulations to develop the most realistic mathematical model.
MH: What do you plan to do when you go back to finish your final semester at AUT?
TL: I hope to finish my final year project. Once I finish that, I want to use this experience to get involved in more advanced technology, particularly technology that combines electric technology and mechanical technology that are in drones and other robotic devices.
MH: Do you think engineering will help with the environment?
TL: Engineering gives you the skills to understand what you’re developing and how it interacts with the environment. How things work from a natural perspective, how much energy it takes to make the material and what long term impacts it may have. You have to understand the whole process of the project and that’s why engineering teaches you the theory behind the technology — how your technology is going to be used in real life, how will people interact with it and how will it interact with the environment from there.
MH: I wish you the best of luck in your future!
TL: Thank you!