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Drone game: UH student engineers in international competition

Drone game: UH student engineers in international competition
Drone game: UH student engineers in international competition


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drone hovering above the ground

Seven students from the University of Hawaii in Mnoa College of Engineering are headed to the American continent to participate in an international drone competition.

The 22nd year Student Unmanned Aerial Systems (YOUR) Competition will be held at the St. Louis County Regional Airport. Mary in Maryland from June 25 to 27. The competition has two elements: the design and flight readiness presentation and the mission demonstration. The presentation part evaluates a team UAS design and testing and team readiness, and the demonstration part simulates a mission (consisting of autonomous flight, obstacle avoidance, object detection and airdrop).

people working on a drone
Students working on drones

More than 50 teams participated and 36 qualified for the competition, including teams from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, India, Czech Republic, Norway, Italy, Canada and the USA.

This is the fifth year since whoops The Drone Technologies team is participating. His best finish was 6th in 2017 (3rd among US teams), and the team aims to place higher this year.

Leiolani Malagon Bracamontes Rodriguez, to senior Mechanical engineering major, is the program manager for the team of 36 students and is one of seven students traveling to the competition.

“Just because they weren't from the mainland or from a bigger country doesn't mean we don't have great minds here in whoops“, said Bracamontes Rodriguez. “Being able to go and represent whoops Mnoa and Hawaii in general—because they were the only ones from Hawaii we're going—it's a great opportunity and we're very lucky.”

Carl Domingo, a spring 2024 computer engineering graduate who is also on the traveling team, will begin working as a nuclear engineer at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard after the competition.

“A lot of people should be proud of what we do,” Domingo said. “We don't build drones just for fun. There are some real-world applications of what we do.”

The importance of drones

drone flying in the air
Drone test flight

UAScommonly known as drones, contribute to efficiency, safety and innovation in various sectors, including agriculture, construction, infrastructure inspection, emergency response, environmental monitoring, delivery services and more, Shiroma said.

“Unmanned aerial systems have been increasingly important,” said Wayne Shiroma, the team's advisor and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering chairman and professor. “Amazon has used them for sending packages. NASA is currently using UASs for detecting fires. Basically, anytime it would be cheaper or safer to send an unmanned aerial system instead of a human, these UAScan come into play.”

Preparing students for careers

Shiroma said participating in the competition will help students gain hands-on experience, problem-solving skills and exposure to cutting-edge technology, preparing them for future careers in the rapidly developing field of drone technology.

“It's more than just engineering, which in itself is very complicated, because of the interdisciplinary nature of the project,” Shiroma said. “Students also have to raise their own finances, they have design review meetings, they interact with project sponsors, so, overall, it's a fantastic opportunity for them to get a grounding in what they're going to experience. in industry.”

– From Marc Arakaki




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