Bath University triumph in UAS Challenge 2017

26th June 2017
Joe Bush

The third annual Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Challenge has been won by engineering students from Bath University. The 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 which took place on 19-20th 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 looking 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 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 aim of the competition is to bridge 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. Winners of the other categories were:

  • Design – Bath University
  • Innovation – Bath University
  • Most Viable Business Proposition – University of Dundee
  • Safety and Airworthiness – Huddersfield University
  • Autonomous/Automatic Operations – Loughborough University
  • Manufacturing – Istanbul Technical University
  • Navigation Authority – Southampton (Valkyrie)
  • Environmentally friendly – Queens University Belfast
  • Most Promise – University of the West of England
  • Endurance – Loughborough University
  • Payload Delivery - Southampton (Olympus)

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