With the goal of improving the efficiency of downtown passenger transit within a hypothetical city, UBC Okanagan’s student aerospace team rose to the challenge during the flying portion of the Aerial Evolution’s 14th Annual Student Competition in Alma, Quebec. Teams from across Canada participated in the competition.
Avoiding obstacles and completing tasks autonomously were the main objectives for the teams over the course of the weekend.
“Our preparations for this year’s competition started in the previous summer, in which we looked at designing new aircrafts for longer range and more efficient flights for new possible competition scenarios,” says Devon Hawley, the club’s president. “We split our team into three sub-groups focused on a vertical take off and landing plane (VTOL), a helicopter, and a software group.”
By second semester, the team had tested both the VTOL and the helicopter and decided upon the latter.
The competition team includes students from year one to three in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and physics.
While there were plenty of highlights for the team, the biggest one was coming home with a silver medal and the competition’s coveted innovation award. “After Day 1, we were in first place, but we ran into some telemetry issues on Day 2 which dropped us a spot,” explains Hawley, “but overall, we are ecstatic with our result.”
The team is already working on next year by ironing out some of the issues they encountered during the competition, completing a thrust stand to better know the thrust output of their motors, improving code and prototyping new aircrafts.
“Compared to a lot of teams in the competition, our team is relative new, so we are excited to keep pushing for the podium and the sky’s the limit.”