In its first year of competing in the Fourth Annual Student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Competition in St. Inigoes, Md., a team of Brigham Young University students took second place.
The electrical and computer engineering, computer science and mechanical engineering students designed a 4.5-pound vehicle capable of autonomous takeoff, flight and landing. During the June competition, they also used Global Positioning Satellite coordinates to fly to designated waypoints, identify targets on the ground and geo-locate targets on Webster Field Naval Base.
The BYU entry beat out those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, San Diego and Virginia Tech, among others.
Working under advisers Clark Taylor and Randy Beard of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Tim McLain of the Mechanical Engineering Department, the students included Breton Prall, Matthew Nokleby, Paul Millett, Andres Rodriguez, Nathan Rasmussen and Neil Johnson.
The MAGICC Lab (Multi-AGent Intelligent Coordination and Control Laboratory) at BYU has over ten years of experience in designing and implementing robotic systems, and several years specifically in aerial robotics.
The competition was sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
For more information, contact Clark N. Taylor at (801) 422-3903.
Related at BYU: Last year, the Deseret Morning News reported that students working under the direction of Randy Beard and Tim McLain won a national engineering competition, beating out professional teams from Boeing, NASA and Lockheed Martin. Learn more about unmanned airplane technology developed in BYU's MAGICC lab here.
Writer: Elizabeth Kasper