Academic team wins UAS design challenge

| Industrial Sector News

Bath University has taken the Unmanned Aircraft System challenge prize awarded by the IMechE.

Engineering students from Bath University have beaten other undergraduate teams to be crowned overall winners of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Challenge.

Now in its third year, the annual event encourages teams of undergraduates to undertake a full design and build cycle of a UAS, also known as a drone, with specific mission objectives – before competing in a final ‘fly-off’ and judging on 19 and 20 June.

Alex Powell, Team Leader of Bath University, said: “The team is over the moon to be crowned UAS Challenge grand champions. It was a long road to get here and we are all extremely pleased with the final result. All of us are still in shock at getting the award which made all those long nights in the lab worth it!

“The team would also like to thank our supervisors for the help along the way, our sponsors for their contributions and the Department of Engineering at the University for the support provided. Finally, thank you to all of the other teams for making it such a great event. We all had a fantastic time making new friends and we are look forward to defending our title next year.”

Rod Williams, Chief Scrutineer of the UAS Challenge, said: “The teams at UAS Challenge 2017 have shown a great deal of skill in integrating a range of technical systems to develop an excellent set of very viable aircraft. The enthusiasm and team work shown was first class and they have applied considerable academic knowledge. In scrutineering, we were able to inspect closely the platforms’ structural and systems integrity and assess the airworthiness of the aircraft as a whole.

“Across the board, the teams had grasped the technical attributes required and the implications of air safety; the Challenge proved an invaluable means of converting theoretical designs into practical, safe and capable aircraft. They have reacted well to meet challenging manufacturing requirements, refining solutions to evolving airworthiness issues or effecting practicable repairs without compromising safety.

“A marvellous effort all-round, with some exceptional aerospace engineering performances. Well done to all teams, an excellent and enjoyable event.”

The competition bridges the gap between academia and industry in developing applied UAS-related activities, giving students the perfect opportunity to strengthen links with industry and enhance employment opportunities.

The final results of the competition saw Bath University crowned as overall grand champions with other category winners for such areas as airworthiness, autonomy, environmental friendliness and endurance.

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