A student team from the Technion faculties of Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering won second place (out of 55 teams) in a prestigious competition held by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI), which took place last weekend in Maryland, USA. The international Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) Competition attracts students from universities all over the world, yet most of the competitors are from the US. The project’s mentor, Dror Artzi, a senior adjunct lecturer at Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, accompanied the students to the competition.
The Technion team were among the 32 teams that made it to the flight course round of the competition and ultimately won second place. They developed two airborne systems that performed autonomous observation, target identification, and cargo launch (to ground target), all while maintaining communication links to the ground station. Each aircraft was installed with advanced systems including a stabilized camera and an airborne computer image processing and communication system for controlling, monitoring and transferring images. The ground station included a control system for monitoring the autonomous flight, collecting images and processing them, and a communication command system to control and transfer images.
The competing teams were allotted 20 minutes to prepare their systems, including setting up their ground station. Dror Artzi explained that, “The Technion’s team airplane flew for 26 minutes, during which time it performed the following tasks – autonomous flight within a predefined area, identification of ground targets, photo identification, detection of ground communication station, identification of side target off the flight path and target image recognition. All this while performing autonomous flight and data transmission in real time with the ground station. In addition, the competition involved presenting a ready-flight system, and in this category the team received many compliments from the judges. For writing the engineering document (Journal Paper), the team earned the highest points and ranked in first place.”