in Aerospace / Events

‘Game of Drones’ returns to Wales in June

Posted 19 February 2019 · Add Comment

An international drone competition returns to north Wales from 16th to 18th June 2019, with Welsh Government backing and a home team competing from Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Challenge is an international student drone design competition organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This year the event is attracting a record 32 teams comprising hundreds of young engineers from as far afield as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Canada, along with first timers from Denmark and the Netherlands.
The Challenge is staged over three days in the spectacular Snowdonia Aerospace Centre at Llanbedr, part of the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone and has been building popularity over the past five years.
Colin Brown, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “We are delighted the Welsh Government has taken this opportunity to support the competition. The Challenge brings leading-edge drone technology to north Wales, which will raise the area’s aerospace profile internationally and help develop the regional skills base.”
The event benefits from the excellent facilities and infrastructure at the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre, itself a well-known drone-testing site which creates a supportive environment for developing this cutting-edge technology, and which has the opportunity to form alliances with academic and industry partners taking part.

Courtesy Institution of Mechanical Engineers

The Challenge gives undergraduates an insight into the role of aerospace engineering on real-world projects, such as simulating a humanitarian aid drop, and requires a great deal of innovation from the students.
Ken Skates, the Minister for Economy and Transport said: “Welsh Government is pleased to be sponsoring this year’s UAS Challenge. This is an exciting sector with a growing presence in an ever-changing world, and such high-profile events are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the world class test and evaluation facilities we have here in Wales.
“Snowdonia Enterprise Zone’s Llanbedr site is a prime example of that, offering the perfect environment for the further development of unmanned systems and emerging technologies, and I look forward to us welcoming university teams there from across the world in June.”
A key part of the competition is an educational STEM outreach programme for schoolchildren, backed by Gwynedd Council with an aspiration to inspire the next generation with the breadth of career options in front of them. Local students will attend a dedicated STEM day and take part in activities to encourage their interest in engineering and aerospace in a fun and practical way.
Councillor Ioan Thomas, who leads on Economic Development for Gwynedd Council said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring STEM activities for local school pupils once again at this year’s IMecheE UAS Challenge.  At last year’s event, young people were able to take part in engineering activities, and speak to engineering teams from universities across the world – we hope this year’s STEM activities will build on that success, and hope to include provision for primary-aged children.”
Other sponsors of the competition include leading aerospace companies GKN Aerospace, QinetiQ, Bombardier, Leonardo, Raytheon Systems and Frazer Nash, working in collaboration with ADS and Farnborough International (Futures Day).
Rod Williams, Principal Consultant, Frazer-Nash and Chief Scrutineer, UAS Challenge, said: “I have now been involved with the IMechE's UAS Challenge for over four years and been Chief Scrutineer for all four events. This has been both interesting and enjoyable, running a small team of dedicated and capable engineers, from a broad spectrum of the aviation world, civil and military. UAS Challenge takes a lot effort to pull together with the IMechE staff, but it is great to see the teamwork, application and technical understanding of the students in designing and building their air systems.

"Their enthusiasm and commitment is infectious, as they endeavour to get the aircraft to fly effectively and it is very rewarding to see them complete the mission, having overcome a number of technical difficulties and practical operating issues. I think they all get a buzz out of completing the Challenge as part of their academic studies and learn a lot about regulation, project management, trials and evaluation and operational requirements on the way.”

The 2019 Teams:

1.   Wrexham Glyndwr University
2.   University of Dundee - Haggis Aerospace
3.   University of Huddersfield - Sparrow Hawk
4.   University of Huddersfield - Harrier Hawk
5.   University College London - Team Newton
6.   University of Southern Denmark - Team SDU Eagles, Denmark
7.   University of Southampton - Team Volta
8.   University of Southampton - Team Eagle
9.   University of Southampton - Team Colibri
10. University of Sheffield - Project HEX
11. University of Bath - Team Bath Drones
12. Sheffield Hallam University - Team Hallam
13. Cambridge University - Team CUUASS
14. Loughborough University - Team Osiris
15. Cranfield University - UIS Society
16. Warwick University - Warwick Drones
17. Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology - Team Foxtrot, Pakistan
18. University of Moratuwa - Team Mora Avions, Sri Lanka
19. Imperial College London - Project ICAV
20. Queen’s University Belfast, team FLYTINAC
21. University of Sheffield - Team Volaticus
22. Brunel University - Team Brunel
23. University of Twente - Team A3T, Netherlands>
24. National University of Sciences and Technology, NUST-PNEC- Team NUST Air Works Beta, Pakistan
25. National University of Sciences and Technology, NUST-PNEC- Team NUST Air Works Alpha, Pakistan
26. University of Hertfordshire - UH Valkyrie
27. Coventry University - Team Phoenix
28. DHA Suffa University- Team DSU Bur'raq, Pakistan
29. University of Surrey - Team Peryton
30. University College London - Team Nova
31. Concordia University – AHS Stingers, Canada
32. Queen’s University Belfast, Team Hibernica Liberandum


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