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Six engineering students from Halmstad University are runners-up in an international competition for autonomous drones. The team qualified earlier this spring to the final, which took place in Arizona in the US on May 15-17.
The students have designed an advanced autonomous drone that automatically can pick up another drone. The goal of the competition was to search an area and identify another drone, pick it up and fly it to a drop-off point.
During the final in Arizona, the team from Halmstad competed against three American universities: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – who won the competition – as well as Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania. The students from Halmstad were the only team outside of the United States to qualify for the final.
– We had some challenging but very fun days in Arizona. It was great to meet students from other universities and see how they had designed their drones, says Marcus Rodén, a newly graduated electrical engineer and one of the students from the Halmstad University's team.
During the competition, the Halmstad students received an award for the best drone design with the motivation: “Halmstad University came very close to finishing the mission autonomously, and given the complexity and sophistication of their UAV design, the near miss was a commendable achievement!”
– The students' efforts are truly impressive. They have never before worked with drones, yet they succeeded in developing an autonomous drone that is advanced in all three areas – electrical, mechatronical and computer engineering, says Wojciech Mostowski, Senior Lecturer at the School of Information Technology and one of the group's supervisors.
The six students graduate this summer from three different engineering programs at Halmstad University. Patrick Karlsson and Emil Johansson are computer engineers, Marcus Rodén and Jakob Carlsén electrical engineers and Anders Bogga and Emil Andersson mechatronical engineers. The students' three different areas of expertise have all been required to create the drone. The computer engineers were responsible for the drone's ability to search, find and land through image analysis. The mechatronical students have been in charge of the design and construction of the drone and its gripping claw, and the sensor and navigation system was developed by the two electrical engineers. The project was done as the student's final thesis project.
Text: LOUISE WANDEL
Photo and film: IDA FRIDVALL, LOUISE WANDEL and MAYTHEEWAT ARAMRATTANA
The students would like to express special thanks to their supervisors, to Halmstad's model flight field Hökaklubben where they could test their drone, and to Vanderbilt University who sponsored their trip to the United States.
Maytheewat Aramrattana, PhD student at CERES, and Wojciech Mostowski, Senior Lecturer at CERES, were supervisors of the competition project.
Supervisors within each degree:
CERES (Computing and Electronics for Real-time and Embedded Systems) and ISDD (Intelligent Systems and Digital Design) are departments at the School of Information Technology at Halmstad University.